June 10, 2002

When Cars Become Prisons I

When Cars Become Prisons

I revere my father. Everything I do or accomplish, I put under the microscope of how proud my father is of me. My mother is the doting and caring yin to my father's stoic, silent, larger-than-life yang. And yet, every so often, my father does something that makes me question my unwavering reverence toward him.

After I picked my parents up from the airport on Friday, I drove them home and my father immediately began his annual routine of starting the vehicles that have sat dormant during their nine month absence in Tokyo. He got the truck started without a problem, but the cranky Buick had a dead battery, so I pulled my car up close to jump start his car. The jump went flawlessly, so I went into the house to chat with my mother, leaving my dad to putter around in the garage.

I talked with my mother for about five minutes, at which point I could have sworn I heard someone knock on the garage door, but my mother assured me it was probably just Dad working on the car. I shrugged it off and continued yapping with my mother and helping her unpack. After about 15 to 20 minutes, I poked my head into the garage to see what my father was up to.

What my father was up to, if you can believe it, was yelling and waving frantically from the passenger side of the Buick, sweat streaming down his face in the 90+ degree heat of the car. He was mad. Damned mad. I could tell this because spit was flying from his mouth as he waved me over to the vehicle. I asked him what was wrong, and he yelled, "What do you mean, 'What's wrong?' I'm locked in the car!"

Now, I didn't think such a thing was possible, and I found the situation to be hysterical, so I started laughing at my caged father, which only served to enrage him further.

"Stop laughing and get the extra keys and get me out of here!! It's hot as hell in here!!" he screamed, although it could barely be heard through the excellent Buick window seal.

I could barely walk into the house I was laughing so hard, and I had to call Mom over to see the ridiculous predicament Dad was in. She just stood in the doorway, silent at first, but then she started howling just as loud, if not louder, than me. She told me to get my camera, but by this time Dad was beside himself with anger, so I didn't want to push my luck. I unlocked the driver's side door and Dad came cruising out, gasping for cool air, and swearing more than I've ever heard him swear in his life.

"What kind of fucking design flaw is that?! The battery went dead and the doors just locked up on me. I was sitting there fucking screaming for 20 minutes! Couldn't you hear me?"

By this time, my sides were splitting with laughter. I seriously couldn't take it any more. But the more Dad went on his rant, the more Mom and I felt obligated to laugh at him. Dad's face got even more beet red when I showed him how to manually unlock the Buick doors from the inside. Just like all cars, there's no possible way to get locked inside. Granted, the manual locks were a little hidden, but the fact he thought he could actually get trapped inside a vehicle was absolutely ludicrous, and it just made me laugh at him all the harder. His agitated state was made even more comical by the sweat drenched shirt from his harrowing ordeal.

"This isn't funny," he screamed, although it was obvious he was starting to come to his senses and he saw the humor despite his waning rage. "What if the car had burst into flames? How was I supposed to get out of there?"

So, my father is human after all, and I guess this is good to know. Still, I was going to buy him a DVD player for father's day, but I'm not sure he's ready for such a technological advance. Certainly not if the concept of manual car locks escape him.

Posted by Ryan at June 10, 2002 01:36 PM
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