(I know, I'm totally getting all George Lucas on you with this Episode Four thing but I'm pretty sure given my history with all things automotive that I'll be writing some prequels at some point in the future. Trust me, YOU CAN'T WAIT for The Minivan Strikes Back.)
So I finally got it. The new minivan that I've waited six months, one Suburban and one Land Rover for. It's a good minivan...it's peppy, it's roomy, and it even has--wait for it--a VCR in it. (I KNOW! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?) (BTW if you know where to buy VHS movies shoot me an email. I imagine they're at the same store with the telegraph machines) I suspect it has powers that even I am not aware of, as Bridger has taken to calling it the Secret Agent Super Ultra Megavan.
Well I've had it for about two weeks and weird shit starts happening. Like the Dark Side put the force choke on my emergency brake, for starters, because I'm driving around Cary and I notice this terrible burning smell and of course I blame it on the Volvo in front of me (I dislike Volvos. This will all be explained in Episode Three: Revenge of the Nissan). And then I notice it again and as there are no Volvos anywhere in sight a tiny seed takes root in my mind that it might be me but I'm on my way to the mall and I'm NOT pulling over.
OK now I see smoke in my rearview mirror. This is not good. I have to pull over in front of REI. (WHY couldn't I have made it to Nordstrom? The Force is obviously not with me this day.)
So I'm parked in a lot between REI and Dick's Sporting Goods--not a bad place to be if you're sporting a miniskirt AND your new, ROCKING 4" heeled platform sandals AND your car seems to be on fire. One would think. Well, not one freaking knight, Jedi or otherwise, comes to my rescue. At this point smoke is POURING out of my rear wheel well. I think this is close to where the gas tank might be and I realize that I may have moved out of damsel-in-distress mode into full-on HAZMAT threat.
I step away from the vehicle. FAR away. I debate whether to call Johnny or the Cary Fire Department. I have had enough run-ins with the Cary F.D. to know that they might not see the humor in this situation. The Wicked Turkey, though, is always good for a laugh so I call him first.
"What's up I'm in an attic. Make it quick." (JP is a heating and air guy. I like to say he heats and cools the Earth like the guy in the Jimmy Dean commercials? Anyway he gets a little short when working in 120 degree attics. You understand.)
"Umm...I think my car is on fire."
"You're shitting me."
"Umm, what's the chance that my gas tank might explode?"
"I'm on my way."
I decide that the parking lot is unsafe at this point and decide to take cover in REI. That store is actually REALLY neat. They will even let you get IN the kayaks, but they won't laugh when you start singing "I'm on a BOAT, look at me I'm on a motherfucking BOAT!" In fact, the store manager will ask you to leave. If you apologize sincerely and inform him that your car is presently on fire, though, he will let you stay.
JP arrives on the scene. The car has stopped smoking at this point. He takes a quick look underneath the wheel thingies and then we take a drive around the parking lot to see if it happens again.
Nothing happens. No smoke, no burning smell. He draws my attention to the emergency brake handle. Him: "What's the chance that you've been driving around with this *up*? Tell me the truth." Me: "Ummmm..."
(By the way I'm pretty sure I'm responsible for the whole Toyota debacle. I owned a Toyota once and it's common knowledge that I destroy every car I drive. I just didn't know my powers extended to an entire manufacturer. I think I should be recalled.)