Over the weekend, MrTDJ was playing a iPod playlist with an eclectic mix while we were cleaning the house and Letoya Luckett, “Regret” came on. I’ve always thought it was a decent song, but for some reason, the lyrics actually caught my attention:
I got you right, I changed your life
Suicide doors I cosigned
And together, MrTDJ and I had a good laugh. Do ya’ll know what suicide doors are? Or have I absorbed way too many hip hop lyrics courtesy of MrTDJ? In case you don’t, here’s what the good folks over at Urban Dictionary had to say:
Suicide doors refer to car doors that open in the opposite of the regular direction – hinges are at the back and the front of the door opens. Many cars before WWII had those and now it is a popular conversion on tuned trucks. Suicide doors are considered far more dangerous than normal doors because of the possibility of opening during movement.
Keep that description in mind as I tell you a little story. During the summer of 1992, I turned 16 and got my driver’s license. In September of 1992, I began my senior year of high school. I never expected my parents to buy me a car, but surprise, surprise, they did. Daddy TDJ is the chatty type that makes friends easily, everywhere that he goes. You know, 5 minutes in the grocery store and he knows all about somebody’s kids, health situation and hatred for their job. Seriously. Complete strangers approach him and pour out their hearts. Anyway, Daddy TDJ met a man at the cleaners. 10 minutes later, Daddy TDJ gave the man $25 and the next day, I stepped off the school bus to this:
Oh yes, that’s a 1979 Chevrolet Chevette. Mine was actually a little more gun-metal grey, but other than that small detail, this was my car. I instantly
hated it fell in love. Well, maybe the love wasn’t so instant. More like eventually. Never mind that I wasn’t expecting a car, somehow receiving this car was a shock to my teenage psyche. I was never the coolest kid in school. I was kinda nerdish and clearly didn’t need any thing like a 79 gun-metal grey Chevette to further divide me from my classmates. But, finally, the idea of some independence won over my offended sense of style and I grabbed the keys with gusto! I was only allowed to drive to and from school for the first few months, then my parents and I were to discuss other driving arrangements.
The car was desperately in need of a paint job, but other than that, she ran like a dream. Her only quirk was a janky passenger side door. I suppose it was misaligned or something, because you had to really slam it and make sure it was closed. Everyone knew about this issue and it was a running joke amongst my friends. Driving to school everyday was great! I loved the freedom that it allowed me. No more rushing to get things out my locker in the afternoon with fear of missing the bus. But the biggest perk? My high school had off campus lunch. No more day old cardboard pizza and ashy brown meatloaf. My girls and I were able to leave campus and eat anywhere we wanted. YES!!
My normal lunch partner was my homegirl who I’ll call Squeaky. She’s had that nickname forever because she is tiny (about 5’0″) and talks in a pretty high voice. Her dad called her Pipsqueak, but we call shortened it to Squeaky. Anyway, Squeaky and I were headed to lunch one fall afternoon. We hopped into my ride and took off for Roy Rogers. To get from our school to any of the local fast food establishments, you had to make a left onto the main street. Traffic was usually thick because all of the seniors were trying to leave for lunch, and there was normal city traffic. Squeaky and I were talking about our upcoming SAT’s, as I waited to make the left turn. Finally! An opening. I gunned it and made the turn. Then the convo went like this:
Me: I’m starting to get nervous. Are you?
Me: Damn, just me?
I look to my right and she’s gone. Da hell? Yes, gone. As in no longer sitting in the passenger seat. ARGH!! I shook my head from side to side and rubbed my eyes quickly as if that would cause her to reappear. She didn’t. I immediately slammed on the brakes, which is always a great idea on a busy 3 lane road in the middle of lunch hour traffic. Damn! If that wasn’t a stupid, “I’ve only been driving 3 months and I’m panicking!” move, I don’t know what was. Cars behind steered hard to avoid my little Chevette and I glanced in the rearview mirror in an effort to spot my girl. I jumped out the car and Squeaky was in the middle of the street like this:
Oh my God, I thought! I’ve killed one of my best friends. I jogged the 30 or so yards to where she was lying in the street, as other motorists had pulled over and were heading in the same direction. I was scared as hell as I approached until I heard her snickering. She continued to lie there until I was staring down at her.
Me: Squeaky?? Oh my God! Are you ok girl?
Squeaky: Heifer, your trick ass car door ejected me and I rolled across the freaking pavement. What do you think?
Me: I am soooooooo sorry!!! But you know you have to slam that door really hard! I didn’t even know what had happened for a minute. Are you hurt?
Squeaky: Just my feelings. Did this really have to happen right in front of the school? Do you think Derek saw?
Me: **laughing hysterically while helping her stand up** Leave it to you to be more concerned about a dude than your health.
Squeaky: Hush! I’m fine and I figure this gives me like 89 million points on the friend scale. You owe me big!
So, yeah, it was scary for a second, but since she wasn’t actually hurt (minus a skinned elbow and small bruise on one thigh) it’s become one of the funniest moments in our 20 year friendship. When we made it back on campus after getting our food, word of the incident had spread like wild. We had to go see the school nurse so she could make sure that Squeaky was ok. MrTDJ found us there. And leave it to him to keep the laughs going, “Damn, who knew they were putting suicide doors on Chevette’s now?”.
My first car, affectionately named Bucket would provide much entertainment over the next year that I owned her. Do you own a car in high school? What was your first car? Your worst car?