She looked out a front window. A three-quarter ton Ford truck was sitting in the driveway. Okay, it’s going to be one of those days. She put on jeans and made sure she had a pair of leather work gloves with her.
She liked truck days. It was hell on gas mileage, but she enjoyed sitting above the rest of the traffic. Later today, a friend would ask her to move an over-sized painting, or to pick up a few boxes out of storage. On one notable occasion, she hauled a horse trailer from a local rest stop after the owner’s truck suffered a debilitating internal crisis. The gooseneck hitch in the bed had been a give-away. People asked her because they knew she had a truck. She was fine with it. She usually got a pizza for her efforts.
No one ever seemed to notice that she drove different cars.
When a co-worker had surgery on their right knee, they couldn’t drive for a month. She offered to carpool and help run errands. She cruised around wrapped in the comfort and luxury of an Infiniti for the duration of the time she played chauffeur.
On an unexpected snow day, she was driving a Fiat 500. She thought a mistake until she felt how well the little car handled the conditions. It might be a short, squat toad of a car, but the low-slung shape hugged the road admirably.
Another time, when she was feeling kicked in the teeth by life, a Jeep showed up. She’d driven a Jeep in high school. That was a fun few days of flashback.
Most days, her ride was a mid-range economy car, a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla. Neither cheap nor fancy. Overall, a generic car that blended in with the rest of the cars on the road.
Except for the color. Oh my, the color. No matter what the model, the color was always the same, one that hovered on the border between hot pink and neon green. Her mother said it looked like a preppy at a disco. Once she looked up the terms, she agreed. At least the color made it easy to find her car in a parking lot when she forgot what she was driving.
The color was what had attracted her to the car in the used lot. It was a Volvo at that point. The color was also why it was still for sale. People raised their eyebrows at the color. The car could change from a Mini-Cooper to a BMW and no one said a word. But the color, that they noticed.
As the make and model shifted, the amenities also shifted around. She was always looking for the gas cap release. She quite liked when heated seats showed up. Technically a luxury, but one she was quite willing to put on her necessity list.
On maintenance or repair days, an America car always arrived. Cheaper to work on domestic cars. Her wallet appreciated that touch.
She had learned to accept what appeared. Thinking that perhaps the cars were manifestation of her psyche, she tried to game the system. Before going to sleep she watched several hours of the Barrett-Jackson car auction, hoping for classic Corvette or a mid-century Cadillac. She did get a car from the previous century. She spend a week belching smoke from a rusted-out 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass with the exhaust pipe held on by a coat hanger. She could tell a reprimand when she drove it. She never tried that again.
Was she touched by the divine? Hardly likely. The tasks she ended up performing where so small. Deliver this. Pick up that. Take those people there. No racing the injured to a hospital. No last chance dashes to delivery serum to Nome.
An alien probing human culture for avenues of invasion? Again, the stakes were so small. What could they be learning?
She thought of it as the world’s least adventurous super power. Car Girl. Drive Lady. She didn’t need an secret identity. It was sitting right there in her driveway and no one noticed. No Clark Kent glasses needed.
It wasn’t something you told people about. She had asked friends a few times, but they had given vague answers, or seemed not to understand the question. “Don’t you know what kind of car you drive?”
She had tried to see the change. She’d stayed up late on several occasions. Most of the time, nothing changed and she’d gotten no sleep for no purpose. One time, it changed when she went to the rest room. So, she got hard core and brought a yogurt container for her stakeout. She still missed the change. You can’t keep your eyes on something at all times. If nothing else, you have to blink. She blinked. The car changed. It was like a benign version of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.
She didn’t feel threatened. She went about her day-to-day life and the car changed to suit her needs, or the needs of others. Weird. Deeply, deeply weird. But not scary.
Also not avoidable.
Once on a work trip, her plane was delayed. By the time she checked in, the rental car agency had one car left. A eight-passenger SUV. Guess what color it was. She ended up driving her team around for the duration of the convention. Everyone said how lucky it was that the rental agency had upgraded her. Funny color though.
Did she question it? Of course she did. The first time, she thought she’d lost her mind. It still bugged her if she thought about it, particularly how no one else noticed. On the whole, she got use to it. You get use to anything after a while.
See you on my book tour,
[VBB January 4, 2020]