Love, American Motors Style

i love my jeep.  unconditionally and without reservation.

It’s a 1983, CJ-7.  Inline 6, bored out 0.30 over, with a high torque cam.  30″ tires.  T-5 tranny.  Fiberglass tub, impenetrable to the metallic skin cancer that afflicts most vehicles in this part of the world.  Frame off rebuild in 1996, she’s been mine and mine alone since the day she became roadworthy.

After rehearsals on Thursday nights, my adorable young cast mate, AU, and i have developed the habit of wandering across the street from the theater to a hole-in-the-wall biker bar.  Thursday night is “Dollar Night” and you can get Bud Light in a can for a buck.  Or a few beers for a few bucks. 

Tonight was a complete run through of the show, which opens 18 September, and she and i are both realizing that the show will be good.  But not great.  High hopes dashed, we wandered down to the tavern for a quick beer.  Sipping our cold cans, smoking a few butts, and commiserating over the bitch slap realization that we’re staring down the barrel of seven weeks effort for the ultimate outcome of “Meh…”. 

Heading out and calling it an early night, we were stunned to leave the bar and find torrential rains, lightning and winds blowing horizontal water.  Oh.  Shit.  Well.  Since i drove the jeep, and she never wears a top in the summer, we decided to wait out the storm and kill another beer. 

Texting a friend for a weather radar update, he suggested that things would clear after another beer.  So we chilled for another half hour… And found even worse weather after killing round two.  So we went back to the bar.  The bartender, learning of our plight, plopped the TV over to the local news, and we figured it was about one more beers worth of storm.

Wandering back to the theater, i snagged a trusty towel from the console, placed it on the seat, and hopped in my baby.  The accelerator was under water.  Hmmm.  Grabbing a waterlogged pen from the console, i unplugged the drain holes in the floor.  Yes.  Drain holes.  You see, my baby likes the rain, and this wasn’t the first time we’d been caught unawares by a summer thunderstorm.  i drilled the holes several years ago, but they have a tendency to plug up with dirt, sticks and other road shrapnel that tends to collect in a naked tub.

Lightning still decorating the sky, but no rain.  Deciding not to wait for the water to drain, i just hit the road.  With every incline, every corner, gallons of water were sloshing over my feet.  Made me laugh like a complete moonbat as i squished my way homeward.  Delighted – as always – to find that even soaked in standing water the dimmer switch on the floor still popped on the high beams with no trouble.

She’s in the driveway at the moment.  i’m letting the water drain a little bit before i put her back in the garage tonight.  Reliable.  Rugged.  Steadfast.  Strong.  Sexy.  She’ll be pretty dry by morning.

Sometimes i truly wonder if i’m capable of love.  i’m pretty dead inside, having built fortresses around the brick enclosures that protect my kevlar encrusted heart.  But it is without reservation that i can say i love my jeep.

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21 thoughts on “Love, American Motors Style

  1. Three weeks and counting. Tick. Tick. Tick. I wish I could see the show.

    I don’t know shite about cars. That’s what was so great about staying in New York all those years. You didn’t have to. You make me feel like I’ve got a pair of ovaries where my balls should be.

  2. yeah, but does she love you? or does she refuse to start on beautiful days…continually ask for mechanical makeovers…that sort of stuff?

    and i’m thinking that the play will come off much better than you expect. what you’re going through is a natural progression of a play…and the fact you’re going through it 3 weeks out? very positive.

  3. I hear ya Sister! I thought ‘I am a rock, I am an Island’, but this last one showed up and completely surprised me. I have had a hard time getting over her. Just when you think you are invulnerable and your wall is of the proper thickness, some how, somebody gets in.

    I’d love to have a jeep. My 4-wheel drive pick’em up truck is fun, but it isn’t open to the elements.

  4. DP – so long as Lo,TG consents, i think it’s perfectly fine… i’m sure she wouldn’t mind a four-wheeled addition to the extended family. especially if it would get you out of her way for hours at a time!

    nursemyra – of course i do, baby! but with 10,000 miles between us? that’s a sufficient ‘barrier to commitment’ so i can let myself go in such a case… ;-)

    kono – i’m just a ‘one banana’ mechanic. two, tops… i am more of a ‘motorhead groupie’ than an actual motorhead. cars are pretty simple. well, at least ones with carbureators rather than electronic fuel injection…

    unbearable banishment – there will be pictures. i’ll be sure to send you some. and reviews from the local critics. and perhaps a few promotional videos… as for my testicles? ummm…. perhaps it’s one of the reasons the vast majority of gents are terrified of me. one of many, i’m certain…

    Bb – yes, as a matter of fact, i am! it’s about 100F here today! a nice, sloppy, wet ride isn’t the worst thing to endure…

    gnu – i think she does. while i’m not the most attentive, and she needs some minor bodywork that i’ve neglected, she’s forgiving and tolerant. doesn’t even complain about sharing the garage with my other ride – the shitmobile. you may be right about the show. i’ve always run into this ‘trench’ – just usually during tech week…

    uncle keith – when you least expect it most. that’s not my current problem, really… it’s just that i chase them off so effectively to avoid dealing with it. i should be patented as an ‘active area denial’ system… and there’s nothing like a jeep on a cool, summer evening. stars, moon, wind and the gutteral drone of the engine as you run the gears… (sigh)

  5. i had an 85 cj-7, i loved that jeep!..and yes i remember the drainholes. that jeep was utilitarian, got rained in, snowed on/in..all rugged on the inside, not like the ones these days. i went through a number of vehicles since then and now guess what i drive? yep a jeep, but it’s not like a real jeep…instead of the hard rubber dash it has some cheap material and it doesnt have the steel handle on passenger side—also sits lower and has too much dash giving you less room. i miss my CJ-7–thanks for the memories…

  6. lynn – i’ve joked that i want to be buried in my jeep. that’s a ‘sort of’ joke – mostly because i plan to be cremated… but yeah, they are the shizz…

    mstngsal – it was topless. jeep? no top? it’s not a convertible. i take the top off in march and leave it off, hanging in the garage, until november. yep. very wet seats… and it had rained torrents. there had to be 10 gallons – at LEAST – of standing water on the floor! It was a BLAST! (God, i’m nothing like a girl…)

  7. Cars – items for transporting me from one place to another. I believe there is something under the hood.

    As for Tech week, that is when I come alive in theatre. I want a blow by blow description of what those techs do to you all ;)

  8. silverstar – thanks! i think part of the reason i like the party-wear is that it reminds me that i’m a chick. most of the time? i could easily be mistaken for a femi-nazi-style lesbitarian, just based on appearance… or an old goth chick.

    renalfailure – like is the answer. you gotta have like. like makes the world go round. give me some hot monkey like… you may be onto something.

    fragrant liar – i like things simple. cars, relationships, directions… doesn’t matter. uncluttered is good. my jeep is sparse, utilitarian and easy to work on…

    alex – nothin’ smooth about the ride in my jeep. no shocks, she’s got leaf springs that’ll bounce your kidneys into the next county if you hit a pothole too hard… but who said i like a smooth ride? (damn, you’re too young for me to be flirting with… i’ll quit now….)

    archie – surprised that as a resident of a desert outpost, as well as a reformed physicist, you aren’t more of a motor head. i’ll be sure to share the details on tech week… we’ve already had the light, sound folks in to poke at us a bit. props are coming together already. but somehow, we’ve got to arrange to have a satellite dish fall over (after being shot). wonder how that’ll happen…

  9. Awwww. Not too many people are capable of writing a heart felt post like this one. Seriously.

    There’s something about old machines. Even as-yet unrestored ones. Perhaps you might understand the anguish I’ve suffered, coming to grips with getting rid of the ’55 Ford Customline 4-door sedan I’ve had for over 30 years because I’m just not going to find the time, and I can no longer justify the investment, to get her rolling again. Same for selling off the 1970 GMC 3/4 T former Alberta Forest Service pickup.

  10. rob – yep. a motorhead affliction for sure. when i leave work, after a bad day, and she’s in the parking lot? my mood lifts instantaneously. joy on wheels. considered finding a CJ-8 Scrambler for my next rebuild, but i felt guilty… guilty as though i would be cheating on my CJ-7. That’s messed up, innit? Understand your anguish. You should post some pics of the ’55 and the 3/4T sometime. Perhaps a photo tribute might ease the transition…

  11. tigereyesal – she’s loaded to the roll-bar in my garage at the moment. waiting for a break in the rain so i can haul another jeep-load to goodwill after another round of weekend excavations. i can count on her to haul damn near anything i need hauled… even if i have to load her and unload her myself…

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