Put the Pedal to the Metal

You know how old people sometimes confuse the gas and brake pedals?

That was me, Friday night. Only I don’t think I confused the pedals so much as underestimated their function. I’m still not sure what happened. All I know is, I was backing into the garage, as is customary. There’s a little concrete “lip” the tires must go over, and so I meant to tap the gas pedal and give it a little more power. But for some reason, I floored it instead, and suddenly found myself hurtling backwards at a high rate of speed. Luckily instinct took over and I slammed on the brake, stopping two feet short of putting a hole in the wall and parking the Hyundai in the living room. I did manage to bust a tail light in the process, but all things considered, this was trivial.

Wait...which one's the gas and which is the brake?
Wait…which one’s the gas and which is the brake?

Afterwards, I was shaky, and my ego was bruised. And I was left wondering, WTF just happened here?! 

I’m still wondering that.

Dozens of questions were swirling through my head. Did I mean to give it gas, or apply the brake? Was the car going too slow or too fast as I was backing in? Did the pedal malfunction? And for crying out loud, who let the dogs out? Who? Who?! It’s been 14 years since the song came out and I’m still in the dark over that one.

Naturally, I turned to Facebook. And naturally, Facebook turned on me. It didn’t help that my second cousin Cindy used to be a claims adjuster and reported that people eligible for AARP do that “all the time.” My friends took advantage of my faux pas to call me “old” and leave humorous hash tags such as #oldpersonneedsglasses and #pedestriansrunforyourlives. In reality, I expected nothing less from my friends and family!

For the record, I don’t really think I’m old or confused or any of the above. It was just a fluke thing. Maybe subconsciously I don’t want to sell the townhouse so I tried to put a hole in it to make it less desirable.

Nah. But that sounds as good as anything else.

Saturday we went apartment hunting, and this was an interesting experience. It’s been twenty years since I last looked for an apartment, back when my ex and I lived in California and were about to move up here. I’m in such a different place in my life now: instead of looking forward to the birth of my first child and a fresh start in a brand new state, I’m confusing the gas and brake pedals on my car and nearly destroying the garage in the process. My priorities have changed, you could say.

Still, with Tara, it was fun. It helps that we have the same tastes and want the same things. Like a washer and dryer in the apartment. And a patio or balcony. A dishwasher. I want A/C and a fireplace. She wants cabinet space and closet room. Most of all, we both want a comfortable, cozy place we can call home for a couple of years while letting my credit recover from the short sale and saving up to buy a house. We don’t want to spend a fortune unnecessarily. We’re looking for a good location, quiet neighbors, and someplace where meth deals do not occur in the parking lot at 3 AM. It’s  fun to look, and while looking, to imagine which wall the bed will go against, or where we’re going to put the record console and the bookshelves and the couch. Especially fun: when the leasing agent asks whether you’ve got any pets, and you talk about your wild animal permit and the panther you’ve got, who is great with kids “bigger than the age of 6” but it’s okay because she hardly ever roars and you’re “willing to pay a pet deposit.”

Sometimes it’s a boa constrictor. Other times, a crocodile. Gotta have a little bit of fun with these people.

And while we didn’t fall head over heels in love with anyplace or sign a lease, we did find at least one strong contender that we could see calling “home” for awhile. In the meantime, we’ll look around some more.

She's nocturnal, and sleeps all day. Plus, we never have problems with mice! Or toddlers...
She’s nocturnal, and sleeps all day. Plus, we never have problems with mice! Or toddlers…
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22 thoughts on “Put the Pedal to the Metal

  1. “Luckily instinct took over and I slammed on the brake, stopping two feet short of putting a hole in the wall and parking the Hyundai in the living room.”

    And no Mark, you’re not old because I did something very similar, back when I was in my 30’s! And ironically, it was in a Hyundai as well. I accidentally pressed my foot on the clutch pedal; thinking it was the brake pedal, while stopping at a red light. And fortunately, no one was in front of me when I suddenly SLAMMED on the brake pedal and stopped the car. WHEW!

    “Especially fun: when the leasing agent asks whether you’ve got any pets, and you talk about your wild animal permit and the panther you’ve got, who is great with kids “bigger than the age of 6″ but it’s okay because she hardly ever roars and you’re “willing to pay a pet deposit.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! LOVED that!

    And hey, I love that photo! Panthers are such beautiful cats, aren’t they?

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  2. Poor Mark. I could put together a care package for you. Let’s see, I’ll need to go shopping for some things. Pudding, a giant remote control, one Life Alert necklace, a button up cardigan and slippers. ;) I’ll call it “Mark’s Old Night In.”

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    1. At least you didn’t add Depends to that list. Thank goodness for small favors! (I wouldn’t mind a nice button up cardigan and slippers, actually. And you can never go wrong with pudding).

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  3. We moved in 2012 and at this house, the way the garage and driveway is designed, it makes more sense to back in. Guess what? I can’t do it, for just the reasons you described. Trying to get over the lip by giving the car just the right amount of gas is impossible for me and sort of freaks me out. I refuse to believe it’s an age thing!

    My daughter and her fiancé are apartment hunting. She has been amazed by the number of places that don’t return emails or phone calls, so she just rules them out. I told her ‘Welcome to adulthood.’

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    1. Thank you for backing up (pun intended) my assertion that it’s not an age thing! :)

      I actually got a call yesterday from the apartment complex we liked. They have a surprise opening. 2nd floor, bay window, vaulted ceilings, etc. It sounds great! But I don’t think we’ll be ready to move by Feb. 8th.

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  4. So glad you and Tara want so many of the same things–avoiding living in a drive-through, being one of them! OMG! You crack me up! Seriously, glad the car didn’t end up in the living room!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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    1. Knowing me, had I accidentally backed into the living room, the first thing I would have done would’ve been to order a “Number 2 value meal with a root beer.” And then laughed maniacally. And then checked myself into the nut house.

      All told, it’s a good thing I didn’t back into the living room.

      Like

  5. I’m glad you’re okay and that no damage occurred.

    Looking at apartments are fun but then reality sets in and it doesn’t seem as fun anymore when you actually have to sit down and sign papers and write a big, fatty check and then pack and move. But then it all works out and you can breathe again and you actually look forward to coming home and putting stuff away.

    Yeah. It’s pretty fun!

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    1. I was thinking it was fun, until I read your comment here and the reality of the “big, fatty check” sank in.

      But at least you didn’t mention “wangly dangly” so I should be thankful, I suppose.

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  6. My daughter is going through the apartment hunting thing in Wpg. She was living in a tiny, character apartment in the older part of the city, but the landlord sold the condo & now she has to move. She has been unable to find any other “character” places so she is being forced into what she calls a “square shitbox of an apartment without any soul” just because she needs to move. I hope you have the time to find what you are looking for & are not forced to “settle.”

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    1. I like your daughter so much after reading that! I don’t want to get stuck in a “square shitbox of an apartment without any soul” either, and trust me, we saw a couple of those while out searching last Saturday. I’d love character, too – although considering our price range, we’ll be lucky to find a “trapezoidal decently clean apartment with a tiny hint of soul.” Best of luck to her!

      Like

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