In his very best car dreams, I would pop the hood.
I would pull the latch
every single time
I would stand at the front of the car while the gas flowed into the tank at the back. I would lean over the front end of the car, careful to not actually touch the car. I would check the oil. I would check the windshield washer fluid. I would rub my chin with my hand while my left brain pondered and assessed and determined technical things.
I would mutter, “It looks like it’s about time to ____________________” And then I would fill in the blank by saying something smart in car guy language.
That would make the husband happy, in his very best car dreams.
I am a dream killer.
I rarely pull the latch.
I pretend to know nothing.
It’s completely his fault, of course.
Cars are his THING.
They make him happy.
Cars make me happy if they have pretty paint
and are washed and vacuumed
and have a stereo with good bass
and have a stick shift
and tons of torque
and corner well
He loves all the cars.
No matter what.
He cares more.
I pretend to know nothing.
Last week we had a car issue. The husband could tell you in great detail what it was. I don’t have a clue what it was. He explained the problem to me. He quickly sensed my lack of interest in what he was saying and my failure to fully commit to the cause. The conversation ended with him muttering, “Am I the only one who ever pops the hood? I pop it EVERY TIME I GET GAS!”
3 days later I took the teenage boy to the gas station. I forced the budding driver to pump the gas. I forced him to wash the rear window with the drippy squeegee. I forced the smart, college bound sophomore to calculate the gas mileage.
“Why??????”, he whined.
“Because, “ I lectured, “The first signs of automotive trouble often present themselves in a declining gas mileage calculation.”
It was the husband’s car guy voice.
It came out of my mouth.
There was a man in the next stall over when the teenage boy and I got gas. He popped his hood. He rubbed his chin while his left brain pondered and assessed and determined technical things.
He turned to us and called out.
“Hey!” he said. “That boy’s gotta know more than how to pump gas and clean a window! Next time you should really pop the hood and have him check things out underneath! Anyone who drives a car should do that every single time they get gas, you know?”
I looked around to see if I was being punked by the husband.
I took a breath and turned back to the man in the next stall. “You are absolutely right. I was speaking with my husband just the other day…..about that…..about the importance of popping the hood.”
“Well that’s fantastic. You tell your husband he’s a lucky man to have a wife who doesn’t pretend to know nothing about cars.”