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Christine the Plymouth is in the neighborhood

April 23, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
After a week of serious stuff, it’s good to pause for a breather.

So, longtime readers of the high-fiber (print) version of my stuff may recall lots of talk about the evil Christine, a 1993 Plymouth Acclaim given to my wife by my father back in 1997.

And the car stayed. And stayed. And became more evil.

To everyone except The Boss. My wife had some kind of weird bond with the car and avoided every chance to be rid of it until last June, when her first new car in about 20 years, a maroon Honda Civic arrived. I call it Mr. Sulu because it’s got a Star Trek Enterprise dashboard and it operates quietly and efficiently. I’m not sure about its ability to get into a karate fight with an alien, but if it bonds with The Boss, as I suspect it has, it’s probably OK in battle.

Make no bones about it, I hate that old Plymouth. Its driver’s seat was stuck in exactly the position needed for my short-legged wife to be comfortable. If I drove it, or heaven help us, The Drummer, who is over 6-feet tall, we were stuck steering with our knees. The air conditioner quit in 1998. Various dents from the driving habits of The Drummer and his sister when they first learned to drive, as well as the aging Chrysler product of the 1990s clearcoat cancer all added to my love of that car.

Oh, and my wife had placed one of those wooden bead seat cover things over the driver’s seat years ago to keep the seat spring that sticks out from a hole in the backrest from tearing jackets and shirts. Those covers, I believe, are a torture device.

So, imagine my surprise when we turned a corner about a block from home the other day and there, glinting in the sun (well, sort of glinting given the lack of shiny bits on most of the paint), sat Christine, in all her evil glory. Our neighbor’s daughter who now owns the car now lives around the corner, meaning the chances of evil Christine sightings have increased.

Understand that I grudgingly respect that old battleship. You have to love any car that runs through two teen-agers, the scary driving habits of my wife, who likes to go airborne over railroad tracks and pack the car full of excess junk (lawnchairs, every backpack the kids used in elementary school and probably evidence that Saddam really did have WMDs), and accumulate about 200,000 miles along the way. It never needed major engine repairs. We never changed transmission fluid. I think the radiator may have been flushed in 2002. Maybe. It could be on its second set of spark plugs, but I am not sure. And it runs, still.

Couldn’t kill it with an axe to the radiator, I figure.

So I smiled at it parked there in the neighborhood. I thought maybe all is forgiven, especially now that I never have to drive it again.

And as we pulled away in Mr. Sulu, I looked back. And I thought I saw Christine’s front-end morph from early 1990s pleasant family car into the squinting, angry-eyed gaze of a modern Dodge Charger. And it growled, too.

So scary.

It is alive. And it is nearby....and it saw my wife driving the Honda...

If I suddenly hear the theme from last year's Chrysler 300 commercial ("Ain't no love in the Heart of the City," by Bobby Blue Bland as sampled by Jay-Z), I'm ducking under the couch.

 
 

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