well, a lot of good cars are japanese


My car, or rather, my parents' car, which is actually still technically my grandmother's car, though she now drives a Saturn, is a 1982 Toyota Corolla. It's light blue. Some members of my family call it "Bluey", you know, because it's blue. Others refer to the car as "The Toad", since it used to belong to my grandparents and seems like a vehicle best suited for the elderly. My sister Kelly calls the car "Shakes", because at speeds exceeding and occasionally even just approaching 70 MPH, the car shakes like it's got the DTs. The driver's side window doesn't seal completely, creating a whooshing wind effect near the driver's left ear at freeway speeds. Both the steering wheel and the passenger's front seat are covered in zebra-print fabric, and there is a small red stuffed ladybug called the "Love Bug" glued to the dashboard. In short, the car is a fucking pussy magnet.

That being said, Shakes gave me little trouble, aside from periodic difficulties in starting the car, until November. It uses little gas, and has a functional AM/FM radio. There's a tape of Jesus Jones' Doubt (featuring "Right Here, Right Now" and "Welcome Back Victoria") in the glove box, and at least two sets of jumper cables in the trunk. Until recently, the backseat was full of swim team-related paperwork, but I had made a valiant clean-up effort just before Shakes began to give up the automotive ghost.

At first we thought it was the battery. Then, an alternator problem. The mechanic confirmed that the alternator was faulty, but also discovered a leak in the fuel pump, and the need to replace the shocks and struts. It seemed like an expensive repair but my parents wanted to do it, wanted me to have a car, didn't mind the expense for such a reliable car. It came back from the mechanic, and promptly blew a tire on its first journey on the road. I began driving the minivan.

Keane family automobiles are cursed. And maintained poorly, but also cursed. Maybe one of my ancestors cheated a Gypsy mechanic out of a covered wagon repair bill a hundred years ago, and that is why we have such hardships. Why else would my parents opt for a sunroof on their first van, instead of air conditioning, forcing in summer months the choice between stifling heat or miniature tornadoes whipping in through the wide-open roof? What other families' automobiles fall into such disrepair that they cannot be resold, only donated to the Jewish Community Fund for the Blind? What other vehicles are ever randomly found coated in Magic Shell-brand sundae topping? Who else has trouble with mold - mold! - on seats and upholstery?

The car I have been driving since last Tuesday is our Acura Integra. It has a small leak in the back windshield, floor mat mold issues, and, unbeknownst to me on Tuesday, a faulty latch on the hood. Only the temporary latch keeps the hood from flying up backwards and slamming into the windshield, while you're driving to work on Highway 24 happily singing along to your Cake CD, totally unaware of any hood problems that might any moment cause the deaths of you and any other motorists unlucky enough to be driving near your out-of-control, shattered-windshield, moldy Integra death machine, while somewhere in Gypsy heaven, a wagon mechanic cackles.

Dennis told me about the latch issues on Wednesday afternoon, after I'd done far too much freeway driving the day before. But no matter. I had survived, and would soon return the Acura back home to Pleasant Hill, this time taking surface streets. I'd drive through Tilden Park, hit Wildcat Canyon, then hook up with Alhambra Valley Road. It would take fucking forever, but I would almost definitely not die to hood-induced vehicular trauma.

I started to worry on Bear Creek Road. I was going 40 - was 40 too fast? The potholes and general disrepair of the road also made me nervous. And the signs warning me about deer crossing the road. Would the hood fly up, and cause me to smack into a deer? Maybe I'd hit the deer, but the hood would fly up at just the right angle to catapult the deer over my car and clear of danger. I could be reliving any of a number of scenes from "Tommy Boy", particularly if the Carpenters happened to come on the radio.

Thankfully, I returned home safely, and will be reuniting with Shakes very soon. It may have been healthy for us to spend some time apart. I'll appreciate it more; a car radio with my own pre-set stations, the beautiful non-scent of a mold-free backseat, and, soon, a matching zebra-print cover for the driver's seat. Shakes, I missed you, baby. Let's never let our relationship, or our alternators, fall apart again.


who covered your car in magic shell? was this part of the hung-dead-dog war?

you should talk to erica about food car coverings. trust me she has your magic shell experience beat.

she really does

The Christmas tree thrown out in front of my minivan was part of the dead-animal-and-construction-equipment war, I think, as the Vigil van was harboring young father and future-dead-dog-hanger Justin Paul. That was my whole involvement in that sorry chapter, thankfully.

I think KT and whoever put Magic Shell on my car while it was parked outside of Emily Anderson's house for a cast party or something.

Harsh. I think that KT and the Dalai Lama need to start taking tips from Gene.

Dooooood. Sean, I don't know what your e-mail address is... so I hope you check to see what people's comments are on a fairly regular basis. I just found out that TOMORROW my 2nd grade class is going on a field trip to the LAWRENCE HALL OF SCIENCE! Do you still work there??? PLEASE say yes. Also, please say that you will be working between the hours of 1:00-3:00. That would be awesome.

PS- do you ever work as a docent? could you pretend to be our docent tomorrow, cause that would be fun.

You can e-mail Sean at sean@squelched.com

I do not normally work on Fridays. I have an airport pickup around noon, but I will try to get up there and visit with your class, Jolie.

Cool, cool. Well, I just spoke with the teacher and apparently I was sadly mistaken. We WILL be at the Lawrence Hall of Science... but we are going to be in some classroom in the basement where Berkeley chem students teach kids. Sooo, I'm not sure.

If you know what I am talking about... and stopping bye would be fun and not a pain in your ass... then come on down. But don't stress if your schedule is too hectic with airports and other such activities.

Dude Sean, you work at the coolest place ever. I just got back from the Lawrence Hall of Science (where you were not) and it kicked ass. Well... to be honest... the part INSIDE wasn't actually that fun. We didn't get to explore... the kids were just being ginnea pigs for Chem undergrads or something. But the view was AMAZING. I didn't realize that it was way the hell up there. You can see the who city from that joint! Kickass my friend, kickass.

we filmed the opening to superfreaks up there. i drive past it every fucking day.

p.s. i also lost a shoe up there during said filming and went back to look for it several days later (like a week) and it was still there. just dirtier. yeah. good view. AND no shoe-(singular)-stealing fiends.

Crazy...this one time, I left my coat in a class at UPS and it was still in the same exact place I'd left it a week later when I had that class again.

here's the car situation michele and jolie alluded to:

erica's car. jealous girlfriend of boy erica's been smooching. a showdown for the ages. final outcome:

erica's car covered in tuna-laden maxi pads, splattered with baby food, with just a touch of maple syrup under all the door handles. and when i say just a touch, i mean tremendous amounts.

jealous girlfriend: vindicated, yet i suspect with a twinge of guilt for being the BIGGEST FUCKING BITCH I'VE EVER MET.

but that's my take on it.

this asinine, puerile girl also spread the wealth around by doing the same thing to the front door of our house. bill the mormom had to take a cold shower to calm down because he was just itching to kill her. and then the boy ripped the phone out of the wall and threw it across the room into somebody's jenga game. oh-ho. those were tumultuous times.

then i had to help clean off the car and listen to erica bitch about said boy for the next THREE YEARS.


Dude, Erica has me way beat. Nobody has really ever done anything openly malicious to any of my vehicles. Even the Magic Shell was kind of funny, or would have been funny if it were someone else's car, or if I hadn't had to spend three hours cleaning it off. With gas station paper towels. At 2 am.

But tuna-covered maxi pads is so far beyond anything I'd even imagine would be done to an automobile. Except for maybe the whole putting-roadkill-in-the-trunk thing.

I would like to buy this car if it is for sale and hasn't been crushed like the rest of 'em. My e-mail is bookemdano17@yahoo.ca or call me Dan Gougeon @ (613) 824-8258 yes Canada (0ntario) I'll pay for the long distance if so or do a collect call if necessary thanks.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on February 24, 2003 5:48 PM.

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