So here’s the story I told her:
I didn’t get my drivers’ license until I was 18, because my mom didn’t want me on her car insurance. I failed my test twice, and the examiner passed me on the third try… probably because he was tired of seeing me exceed the speed limit on Buffalo Road and make illegal left turns. I spent the better part of one paycheck ($200) on a 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and it was five colors. I didn’t exactly love it, but it was a set of wheels and that meant freedom.
So I drove that for a while, and then my mom’s boyfriend (we’ll call him Bob, because that’s his name, and I don’t protect the guilty) told me about a 1989 Ford Taurus that a guy was selling. I spent the better part of a FEW paychecks on that one ($1000, a princely sum in the year 2000 for a college student with a part-time job) and it was perfection. I love, love, loved that car. I drove it all over creation and it was reliable and it had a good radio.
Then I met Bucket. The car was not an issue because it worked perfectly. (Bucket is a fixer of cars in addition to his other many talents, if you didn’t know that.) I was on the way home from the mall one night, taking back roads because that’s what people where I’m from do. The Wolf Man and my youngest brother (did I ever give that guy a code name??) were in the car with me. A lady was tailgating me pretty heavily all the way, and at the second-to-last stop sign, she didn’t stop when I did. I was on the phone with Bucket at the time that I got rear-ended because we were going on a date as soon as I went home and put on my new clothes. I did not get to go on my date. The car was totaled. My heart was broken, but nothing else. We were all fine, lest you think otherwise, except for some minor bumps and bruises and soreness.
My mom didn’t want to help me rent a car (remember, I was 18 and you have to be 25 to rent a car) because… well, I don’t really know why. Probably because she had Bob the boyfriend and he was all about not being a nice guy. So that’s how Bucket and I got closer and closer – he would pick me up for a date, and then I could sleep over (just sleeping, you guys, I swear) and have a guaranteed ride to class the next morning. Or he could take me home and I wouldn’t be able to get to school. I’m ambitious and I always was, so I took that good deal and let Bucket take care of me.
When the insurance company gave me my check for the lovely Taurus ($1400, more than I’d paid!), Bob the boyfriend took it and came back with a silver 1985 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. It was interesting to drive, and I took it in to Bucket so he could investigate why it was so interesting. Plus, I was proud that I had wheels of my own again. Bucket poked around and said, “Heather, this car is stolen.” I disagreed with him, because… really, I’d given Bob $1400. Surely he wouldn’t have gotten me a stolen car, right?
Wrong. The back passenger window was plastic (not glass) and put in with bathtub silicone. The glove box was missing. And there was broken glass in the crevasses of the back seat. PLUS, the thing didn’t run right. He didn’t even get me a GOOD stolen car. Just my luck. But when I asked him for my money, or even some part of it, so that I could get a car honestly, he said, “It’s gone.” So I continued to drive the car and crossed my fingers every time I went somewhere that I wouldn’t get pulled over and arrested.
It eventually died… on the way to my Speech Communications final. I failed the final and the class, which was required for graduation, so I had to take it again. Without this interesting set of circumstances, though, I think Bucket and I would have gone on a few more dates and he would have graduated without us ever “making it official.” So thanks, lady who rear-ended me, and thanks, Bob.