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New blog thing. The Tuesday Top 9, because 10 is too many. Also, Letterman already claimed the Top 10. Today’s topic: Going Topless: Lessons Learned From Driving a Convertible. Oh sorry, was that headline misleading? You were expecting something more titillating? Sorry, totes didn’t mean that.
9. Strap down important papers – Driving a convertible is great practice for your reflexes. Papers, napkins, even empty water bottles suddenly catch a stiff wind and fly up from the floor forcing you to instantly snag with your hands while steering with your knee. Recently lost: 3 pages out of chapter one from my current manuscript. Somewhere on the side of I-44.
8. People will mistake your convertible for a recycling container – This is a lesson hard learned, but if you park at a bar AND you miss the bartender shouting “Last Call” so you become one of the last people to leave, there might be some folks on the wrong side of sobriety who leave before you. They might find your topless vehicle an irresistible target practice to see if they can land their beer can inside. This might have happened to me twice before I learned. In my defense, I thought the first time was an outlier.
7. You’re taller than you think – Remember the time my brother stood on the passenger seat to project his voice while he was yelling at people at Fenton Park? I still claim I didn’t see that branch before it thunked him in the back of the head. I mean, okay, I saw it, but I didn’t think it would hit him. I mean, okay, I thought it would hit him, but I didn’t think we were going very fast. Never mind, let’s move on.
6. Rain stings in the back seat – Every Most convertible owners have a line of demarcation for how fast to go in the rain to keep from getting wet. For me, it’s 46 mph. Long as I’m driving 46, the rain passes by me in the driver’s seat and there’s no need to pull over and put the roof up. However, there is no speed I’m aware of that protects people in the back seat. I know this from hearing my sons saying OW OW OW OW OW. Rain travels about 20 mph. Multiply that by my car speed, and they’re getting plucked with water drops at about 1,300 miles per hour. OUCH! Teaches something, I’m sure.
5. Convertibles transform into pickup trucks – Don’t let friends fool you. If they have a convertible, they CAN help you move. While my convertible doesn’t fit as much material as your pickup, there is nothing your pickup can carry that my car (and a little imagination) won’t hold. Sofa? Easy. Bed? Just last week – in the rain! Dresser? Okay, I admit, I lost one of those on 270 once. Sorry, Melissa. At least it wasn’t your underwear drawer, right?
4. Keep your hair in mind – During driving lessons with my son, I warned him about something I learned a few years back. Sometimes you have to suck it up and put the roof up if you’re going to an important meeting. Here’s what happened: My hair was getting lengthy. I had a meeting with a new client, drove about twenty miles down the highway and by the time I arrived the wind has wreaked havoc on my ‘do. I’m not making up what he said in the conference room. Out loud. “I didn’t know the Bay City Rollers were still touring.” We’ve became good friends anyway, but one day soon I’m gonna spill hot coffee on him.
3. Watch what you say – This happened when I had my Jeep, so we were not only topless, but it was doors-off weather. I was taking my 3-year-old daughter to the park. She’s strapped in the passenger seat (don’t judge, the car seat was probably in the shop) and holding a Frisbee. We’re stopped at a red light on Lindbergh where it crosses Big Bend. I remember this like it was yesterday. I look at her, her legs stretched out and her toes barely hovering beyond the end of the seat. “You wanna throw the Frisbee?” At the park, I’m meaning, right? Well, yes, she wanted to throw the Frisbee. Right then. Threw it across two lanes of Lindbergh Boulevard. The light turned green. Never saw that Frisbee again.
2. Watch above you – This was one of the coolest moments, about six or seven years ago, so it was my Sebring. I’m driving to a baseball tournament, my son and a teammate are in the back seat. As we’re cruising west on the Page Extension, the back seat suddenly gets quiet. I glance back and they’re both staring up. I see it. A bird has picked up with us. Pacing our speed. Flying about six feet above the top of our car. She stays with us for a full mile. Majestic. Finally soared off. They both looked at each other in the back seat and grinned. The moment will stay with me forever.
1. Behold the moon and stars – Larson Park. My wife. No idea if the moon was visible. No idea if any stars were out. Sorry, that’s about all I can tell you about the greatest lesson I learned in one of my convertibles. I can only pass along that the babysitter earned a little overtime pay that night.
Got any convertible lessons of your own? Lemme know in the Comments.