June 11, 2008
I live in a town without a stop light. But what we lack in traffic signals we make up for in lakes, ponies-for-sale, and hubcaps. Yes, that's correct. Hubcaps.
Every morning, as I drive to my office, I pass a mobile home on the right side of the road with a pile of hubcaps so large that it could literally fill the single-wide trailer three times over.
The first time I saw the pile, I was driving with a very well-mannered coworker. She glared at the large metallic mountain, raised a nostril in disgust and limply pointed with her pinkie as she uttered, "That...is disgusting. I wish the town would do something about that slob."
I've made it my personal policy to never lie with my lips, so I offered up a flat smile and nodded my head in sympathetic, albeit fake, agreement. Because honestly, I thought the pile was pretty neat. I sort of wanted to update my tetanus shot and swim around in it for a minute or two.
You see, for the past 365 days I've been driving a Toyota wagon with two missing hubcaps. Before you scoff at the appearance of my automobile, go ahead and answer me this: Do you have any idea how expensive those suckers are? I replaced each of the hubcaps one time, promptly lost the replacements, and completely abandoned all hope.
I hadn't planned on regaining a sparkle of hope until my husband started collecting forty-million bucks annually, but I can't lie, that single-wide trailer rekindled my flame.
It took a few months, but last week I finally worked up the guts to stop on my way home from work and ask the property owner about hubcap pricing. I took a deep breath, applied blinker, and pulled into the U-shaped driveway.
The property owner was a very pleasant, middle-aged man. He evaluated the condition of my wheels, approached my car window and said, "Welp. I ain't got a thang that matches."
"Oh," I replied, trying to mask the disappointment in my voice.
He shouted over his shoulder as he disappeared into the pile..."But I do got some sets of two that would look nice on yer car."
He emerged a few moments later carrying four sets of two. One set was obviously emblazoned with the Buick emblem. Another set had a lot of spokes, and appeared to belong on a Lincoln Town Car. I didn't pay much attention to the last two sets. Instead, I interrupted the man in the middle of his sales pitch and said, "This is a Toyota, none of those hubcaps match my car."
"That's true," he said. "But yer missing both hubcaps on the passenger side of yer ve-hicle. You can replace 'em with anything you want."
I offered him a long, silent, confused stare.
"No one can see both sides of yer car at the same time, Ma'am. You cin put different ones on this side. As long as they match front 'n back, yer all set!"
"Oooohhhhh," I replied, giving the man an honest smile. "Let me talk to my husband about it, and I'll be back."
My goodness, the man was right. What's the big deal if I have late-model Toyota hubcaps on the driver's side of my car and 1986 Buick Regal hubcaps on the passenger's side?
Well, if I do it my husband says he'll leave me. I guess that's the big deal.