Jetta vs The Mini Cliff

Picture it: Tukwila, WA, 7:50am on a Sunday.  A quiet and tranquil neighborhood is still asleep as one young woman in Nike athletic pants and  Boston Red Sox hat heads out of her new apartment on a quest for coffee creamer and the Sunday morning paper…

The first time we went to the apartment I noticed how steep the driveway was.  I pulled in nose first though because I overestimated my actual driving abilities.  I also underestimated that those Nazi engineers at Volkswagen would design a chick car (the Jetta) with Panzer-like abilities.  I have never had a problem with my manual transmission.  In fact, I have been complimented on occasion by MEN on my abilities with a stick shift.  No innuendo there.  So when I attempted to back out of the driveway and left about four inches of rubber in the driveway, I decided that I needed an alternate parking spot.  There was a flatter spot further from our door but if I backed in I should have been able to negotiate out of the driveway.  WRONG.  So that fateful morning I got up early and decided to visit my neighborhood.  Unbeknownst to me when I backed into my spot the day before I had parked my right rear tire one inch from a three foot drop.  Our apartment building is on a hill so you can only see the top three floors from the street and the bottom floor is only visible from the back.  A driveway runs along the left side of the building, down the hill, and is up to five feet below the front of the building.  So I started the engine, released the parking brake and started to go.  I always roll a little backward but when you are teetering on the brink of disaster even a half inch is no good.  Needless to say my tire then slipped off the pavement and onto the wall of fifty pound rocks that prevent erosion of the three foot cliff.  At first I didn’t realize this and attempted to go forward again but couldn’t get traction so I slipped further back.  This time however, it was enough to send my whole rear tire off the edge and thus making my car go over the concrete barrier that was acting as a pathetic block between me and oblivion.  I can’t explain how I missed the tree that was behind me but before I knew it I was I was teetering on the rocks between the parking spots and the lower driveway.  Remember the episode of the Simpsons where they went camping and Homer had the car dangling over the edge so they were slowly moving things to the other side of the car to balance it out?  I didn’t have that kind of time.  I started screaming instead.  Gravity won (fucking Newton) and I started scraping the bottom of my car along the rocks as I glided onto the pavement below.  The cassis was rocked as I slammed down but my heart was pounding harder.  Ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuck!!!!   was the only thought going through my head.  I put the car into first gear and attempted to head up the driveway.  No luck.  I couldn’t get going to matter what way I turned the wheel.  This is it, I thought.  I have finally wrecked my car.  I don’t have money for a tow or repairs and I have obliterated the undercarriage of this car.    I cranked the wheel back and forth a few more times, gave it some last hurray, and drove up the driveway victoriously.  Well instead of finding out that my tire was hanging on by a thread on a public road I drove down the street to the creepy park.  Despite not knowing what I was looking at nothing was dangling and other than a bit of dirt and grass sticking out of my right rear hubcap, everything else looked good.  I proceeded along with the rest of my plan without incident.  However being me and learning nothing from history I parked in the same spot when I got back.  It went without incident until the next afternoon when Tori and I attempted to go to the library.  My Panzer rolled back over the concrete barrier and I had to give it so much gas I used about a quarter tank to get out of the driveway.  Now I don’t know how I had declined from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retarded soccer mom so fast but I was wholly unimpressed.  After that I began parking on the back side of the building on a nice, flat spot.  I had also had the pleasure of being informed by two separate good Samaritans that week to and fro work that my tire was both almost flat and wobbling precariously.  Awesome.  I decided that it would be prudent to spend my lunch hour at Les Schwab having that checked into.  After an hour and a half of sitting in their reception area watching the local news and chatting with the other customers, they finally called me to the desk.  “Are you Kate with the Jetta?,” asked the tall, bald, tattooed and surprisingly pleasant mechanic.  “Yep that’s me.  Were you able to fix it?”  I figured if anyone could fix a Panzer it was this guy.  “Yeah, well you must have hit something pretty hard because I had to bend the rim on your right rear tire about six inches.  It was pretty bad.  But I think I got it punched back out.  I also rotated your tires.  Now, if you feel any vibration you just bring it back and we’ll take care of it.”  I was stunned.  The only repercussion of slamming my car down a mini-cliff was this big mechanic had to bend a pansy rim out?  Take THAT Honda!  You will NEVER compete with the superior German engineering and Mexican assembly that is Volkswagen!  Now not only can I add stunt driver to my resume, but conscientious consumer as well.  “Um, I don’t really want to admit what I did,” I replied shyly.  “Haha, well things happen.  It’s parked right around the corner.  I do suggest that you get the alignment checked though.”

“Ok I can handle that.  What do I owe you?”  “Oh nothing today, since you just moved here and all.  But I’ll charge you double next time!,” he said rather cutely.  I couldn’t believe that this guy could find me charming after seeing what I did to my tire and seeing four days worth of drink cans, Pringles containers and peanut butter cookie crumbs infesting my car interior.  It was me at my most unfabulous and he didn’t even care.  God bless this new shampoo.  “Ok well thanks so much.  I will definitely be recommending you guys to my friends!”  He didn’t need to know I was friendless as well.  Why ruin the fantasy?

Jetta vs The Mini Cliff

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