And She Had Fun Fun Fun Til Avis Took The Sebring Away…

I want one.

Not just your average “Oh, that would be nice,” but a full throttled, toddler-in-a-toy-store-temper-tantrum want one.

I’ve wanted one since high school; I caught a glimpse of the visage of perfection, and was hooked. An MG Midget. Total impracticality wrapped up in the bright glittery paint of You Must Own One. It was metallic blue and the top was dirty and torn, but from that moment on, I was hooked. I think I would have done the entire football team to get one.

Well, maybe not. But you get the idea.

Twenty five years later, I still want one. It doesn’t have to be an MG Midget; in all honesty, the day Mazda came out with the Miata my image of the ideal shifted. The Miata looked like pure fun on four wheels, and I coveted it as much – if not more than – the first Midget I had seen.

Real life has a way of intruding on fulfilling your hearts’ desire. Marriage, a kid, pets… the things that make Real Life worth living meant that a convertible was a dream delayed. I could look, and lust, but not have one. And that was okay.

Most of the time, anyway.

In a moment of just in case, meaning for the most part, just in case I came out of surgery blind, or just in case I came out of surgery with Bad News hanging over me, or just in case I, well, up and croaked, I wanted to drive a convertible. More than a few miles, I wanted a couple of days behind the wheel. It didn’t matter what kind of convertible, really. I just wanted to drive one.

Long before we knew I would need surgery, the Spouse Thingy put in for a weeks’ leave; we thought that because of the time off he would need to be there for my recuperation that it would be canceled – and that was fair. His unit is short staffed, and you just can’t expect other people who need surgery to wait just because I want some time with him. He got the leave, though, the week just before I was scheduled to have my upper lip and nose lifted off my face and the nether regions of my brain explored.

My wish was his gift: he rented a Chrysler Sebring for two days. Thumper & The Spouse Thingy were going to ride the roads of California, wind whipping our hair, bugs that should wind up between our teeth splattering on the windshield, the sun burning our all too white skin. We had the car for all of Wednesday and all of Thursday, and had to have it back on Friday.

Renting a Sebring for two days: $200.

The first day we drove up to Sacramento. It was a few days past my father in law’s birthday and we wanted to go up there, take them both out to lunch, and just hang for a little while. Driving on the interstate at 75 mph was *loud,* but there was no way I was putting the top up.

Screw the noise, screw the sunburn – I was driving the perfect car.

We did put the top up partway home… it hit 106 degrees, and even the wind can’t help that much. But once home, where it was cooler, the top went down, and we made up places to go, so that I could drive the convertible again.

The next day we decided to spend a couple of hours at a nearby Indian Casino, someplace The Boy could also go. The casino, Cache Creek, is about 45 minutes away, a perfect distance to take out a ragtop on a sunny day. Now, we understand The Boy is a starving college student, so of course the Spouse Thingy was funding this Expedition into Sin.

We’re Good Parents.
We take our kid gambling.
Hell, I also buy him beer.

Funds for gambling: $200.

We bumbled around on the nickel slots for a little while; they just weren’t Fun Slots, and at 45 nickels a pull, The Spouse Thingy pointed out that it’d be cheaper to play quarter slots at 3 coins a pulls. All Right. We headed over towards quarter slots and found a bank of machines with a frickin’ huge BMW on top. Rack up a Red 7, a White 7, and a Blue 7, in that order, and you can win the BMW or $30,000.


I slipped a twenty into the slot, and started betting the max. The Boy slipped a twenty into the slot and started playing the max. At some point the Spouse Thingy slipped a twenty in, as well. A Fun Family Activity, for sure.

The Boy lost $90 of our money in less than two hours, and $20 of his own. A nice lesson learned for his first trip (that he’ll admit to, anyway) to a casino.

The Spouse Thingy kept hitting for “Any 7s” and by the time he cashed out he was $200 ahead.

He cashed out after I hit for three Red 7s. I was ready to leave after that. I had to leave – there was no way I was staying in a casino after winning $1250. I may have gone blonde a few times in my life, but, well, you know the cliché.

We left there with over $1400, and headed straight for the bank. There the money sits, waiting for the day when I can buy my own convertible. We went to a movie after that (The Bourne Identity, a decent flick, imo) and then to dinner before take The Boy back to his apartment.

Dinner and a Movie: $75

A great two days, fun behind the wheel of a slick Sebring, time spent with my guys… Priceless, hell, we netted $1200!

And dangit, I want a convertible of my own now more than ever.

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