Fanfare for the Common Man

  • Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This past weekend I rode in the backseat of my son’s Mazda 3.
Mazdas and I have history you see, and it’s not pleasant.
Driving my dad’s Mazda Miata was like driving a Hot Wheel. Getting out of the Miata involved the term, “Drop, tuck and roll.”
First, let me go on the record by saying removing oneself from the backseats of some of today’s cars is a lot like childbirth. My knees are stuffed up under my chin, my feet are wedged somewhere behind my ears, I’m stuck, and from behind me somebody is hollering, “PUSH!”
But before you can exit one’s vehicle, you must first enter it, and fitting me into the backseat of a Mazda 3 is like trying to put away a sleeping bag. You just have to keep pushing until nothing pops out anymore.
Once inside I had a problem.
I couldn’t move. A seatbelt at this point was moot. Good luck trying to get me out of here. I was the sardine packed in mustard sauce.
But as Yoda told me once, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
With the wheel wells taking up most of the exit space in the rear passenger doors, I wasn’t afforded much maneuvering room. I had to hike up my legs, shift to the left, pivot, and poke my feet outside. At the same time, I struggled with my gargantuan girth, the front seat that had been shoved all the way back, and gravity.
In North Georgia they will stick a parking lot anywhere, at the top of the hill, at the bottom of a ravine and all points in between. I was trying to exit a vehicle on the uphill side of a significant incline, which meant gravity could use my body mass against me.
It did this quite well, in fact.
I was in my early thirties the last time I was successfully able to bend over and touch my toes. It’s been at least that long since I’d been that up close and personal with my ankles. I figure if God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them on my knees.
It’s hard to say how I attained the position I had, but imagine a slip of notebook paper folded in half. This was NASA training in action.
With my kneecaps acting as earmuffs I tried to “scooch” up and over the vinyl seat cover, which, if you’re wearing a pair of Sears and Roebucks slacks, produces some interesting sound effects.
And, given the position in which I had put myself, I couldn’t be entirely certain what produced which sound effect, me or my pants.
That’s when I thought about Life Alert.
I’ve seen the commercials. I know what happens. Technically, I had fallen into the backseat of my son’s car and couldn’t get up so I figured I qualified for membership.
From behind, someone said, “PUSH!”                                                                              
To which I replied in my best Winnie the Pooh voice, “Oh bother, I no longer bend that way.”
To which they said, “Bend anyway or we’ll lose our dinner reservation.”
So I bent. Never stand in the way of a man and his dinner.
It’s amazing what positions the human body can attain when one puts one’s mind to it.  I did, though, disprove one rudimentary theory of quantum physics.
Yes, you can fit the hypothetical 10 pounds of potatoes of my backside into the five-pound bag of my son’s Mazda 3. Removing those potatoes though, while possible, is another matter altogether.

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