When Your Asian Guy Fights for His Muscle Car Instead (#158)

The Ultimate American Muscle Car is being put out to pasture...maybe.
The Ultimate American Muscle Car is being put out to pasture…maybe.

When Andy and I met, I had a two-seater convertible. Andy had an overpowered Ford Mustang. In his Cobra, Andy drove like a man on a mission – and the mission was to destroy every single stereotype about slow, cautious, incompetent Asian drivers.

I’m a pretty impatient, aggressive driver myself. On my way to California, I went through a lot of states at 90 miles an hour (or more). I’m much more likely to criticize someone for driving too slow than too fast.

But on the freeway in Andy’s Mustang, I braced myself on the dashboard and screamed, “We’re gonna die!” More than once.

When we got a dog, Andy still drove like a maniac. Woofie bounced around the backseat like a ninety-pound pinball until he figured out how to wedged his big head in the open window and hold himself in place with enormous paws.

We got a second, smaller dog, with dainty paws. Fey had a normal pain threshold and a pinhead. She slid all over the backseat until I scolded Andy.

“It’s not my fault,” he protested. “It’s the design. The seats are small, there isn’t much room, blah, blah…” Andy went on about the intricacies of the bucket seats or some such nonsense. I wasn’t listening. I was just waiting for him to finish.

So I could pounce with, “Yeah, you’re right, the backseat is a problem. It’s not great for the big dogs that you wanted so badly, is it?”

Andy sensed a trap. “Uh, well, um…”

“What we really need is a hatchback. So the dogs can get in easily and lie down.”

Andy countered. “We could trade in your car. I mean, a convertible isn’t practical.”

“But the gas mileage is. The Cobra gets what? Twelve miles to the gallon?”

“Thirteen!”

“My little car gets three times that.”

“But—”

I went for the jugular. “Think of the money we could save on gas!”

“A hatchback big enough for the dogs wouldn’t save us that much gas money. I’m still the one with the daily commute, right?”

I delivered the coup de grâce. “Which is why YOU should take my little car and I will drive the dogs around in the hatchback.”

Andy’s mouth opened, closed, and opened again. The frugal man hunting for an argument against an inevitable, practical economy looks a lot like a beached fish looking for air. But there was no argument. I knew it. He knew it. All he could do was sputter, “I knew it was a trap!” and disappear into the garage.

He washed his beloved Cobra that afternoon. Then he waxed it. He came to bed so late that night, I think he even slept in it.

Also, he complained about a crick in his neck the next day. Those seats really are as uncomfortable as fuck.

I didn’t say anything further until we found out Andy’s parents were coming to visit us…for several weeks.

After I got over that shock, I said, “They aren’t going to get a rental car, are they?”

Andy gave a shout of laughter. As the laughter subsided into chuckles, Andy reminded me how he drove his parents around every time we went to visit them.

I smiled and said, “Wow, it sure is going to be tough for them to get in the backseat of your Cobra.”

The chuckles stopped.

I continued. “Too bad we don’t have a car with four doors. Your dad isn’t getting any younger, and those long Mustang doors are so heavy. I hope one doesn’t shut on your dad while he’s trying to get into the car.”

Andy scowled.

I finished with, “If we WERE going to get a four-door hatchback, we should do it before your parents arrive.”

Andy stomped off to his computer.

A few hours later, he called me over. “What do you think of this Mazda? It has a hatchback.”

Filial piety has its uses.

*****

Weeks later, I met my in-laws at the baggage claim in the Los Angeles Airport.

Jay shrugged off my hug. “Where’s my son?”

“He had surgery on his knee earlier this week,” I reminded Jay, hoisting a bag. “It’s better for him to stay at home with his leg up for at least another day.”

“Oh, no,” said Sunny, who listened marginally better than her husband. “Andy’s not better yet?”

I assured her Andy would be up and walking around by the following day. “It was only a tear in his meniscus. He has itty-bitty holes and it took less than an hour.”

Jay scowled at me and said, “Thanks for taking care of my son.” It took me a moment to realize he was being sarcastic.

I wasn’t aware that my laconic father-in-law even did sarcasm. I wondered what the next delightful surprise would be.

I found when I alone schlepped the heavy bags to the parking garage.

Daughter-in-law = pack mule.

Luckily, this daughter-in-law regularly lifted weights and ninety-pound dogs. I made it to the car without breaking a sweat. My in-laws looked around in confusion as I dropped the luggage next to a brand new, gleaming black hatchback.

Sunny said, “Where’s Andy’s car?”

I clicked on the key fob as I pulled it out of my pocket. The lights on the hatchback flashed, and I opened the passenger door with a flourish. “THIS is Andy’s car now. He finally agreed to trade in the Mustang for something more practical. Who wants the front seat?”

Sunny and Jay conversed in rapid-fire Cantonese as I muscled the bags into the hatchback. When I got into the driver’s seat, I discovered I was alone. Sunny and Jay were both in the backseat.

Surprise #3: Daughter-in-law = Chauffeur.

So be it. I started the car.

Sunny called out, “Andy loved that car so much, I thought he would die in that car.”

I stopped myself before I said, “He damned near did.” Because Andy never told his parents how the Mustang – and Andy – were nearly totaled when Andy looked away from the road too long and hit a pole.

I merely smiled, since some secrets are only mine to tell if I am doing it under a pseudonym.

I always wondered, though, if Andy had hidden his accident as well as he thought.

Because as we drove out of the airport, Jay cleared his throat and said, “Thank you for taking care of my son.”

And that time, he wasn’t being sarcastic.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

28 thoughts on “When Your Asian Guy Fights for His Muscle Car Instead (#158)”

    1. Thanks, Kate! Although I think my in-laws would say they manage me…and moan about how difficult I am while extolling my degrees. And no, they have no idea this blog exists. My family found me, but Andy’s didn’t.

          1. I wish there was a blogger who posted anonymous work for those of us who are to much of a sissy to offend. With the recent fall and subsequent surgery of my 86 year old sister-in-law, I have a book! All hilarious! (She was worried about peeing on the operating table! Who worries about that? Most people worry about dying.)

  1. I never really got into some overpowered small cars…my first one was a Opel Astra G (German Brand) using as little as 3,8l of Diesel per hundred kilometres (roughly 1 gallon per 62 miles?) and afterwards some SUV’s as we just need those big ones for the kid and ofc due to our work (need to transport dozens of boxes to the mail office nearly every day). Though those cars we had now were pretty big (for European standards!) I try to drive as fuel saving as possible with around 1 gallon per 40 miles now 🙂
    Anyhow, good that you were able to convince Andy. A hatchback has so much more space available than his old car 😀

          1. Looking at the environmental angle the Hybrids are the best thus far. Sure Electric cars they do sound great but thinking about the production of them…worse then a sportscar can pollute in 12 years…
            What I think is interesting how the world/ pretty much the U.S. sank its teeth into VW. I mean just now they had tests in Germany for all kind of car brands from around the world and they had up to 44% worse rates than in the papers with VW just being average. Anyhow I do hope the car manufacturers will learn from the VW fiasco and do change, we only got one world!

  2. Do Asian drivers have a reputation for being slow and cautious in the US? That’s so funny, hahaha. People drive like savages in China… definitely not cautious at all!

    1. Absolutely! I think it’s because a lot of the older drivers didn’t grow up driving — like Andy’s parents — and so they really aren’t comfortable behind the wheel. The same with all the Japanese Moms in minivans who are used to trains. I think the stereotype started with the older generation. It may disappear in another generation. Andy certainly did his part to get rid of it.

  3. Taking notes on those mad negotiating skills. I managed to get YJ to get a new down jacket recently, but purely by chance. His old one was hemorrhaging feathers and had some questionable stains we couldn’t remove, and he still refused to get rid of it. He found a much nicer one on sale and we agreed he could get it as long as he threw the old one out/gave it away. …The old one is still in our closet. T-T

    1. Gosh, Ri, it would be SO SAD if something happened to that jacket. If something sticky spilled on it, or mold appeared on the stains…

      Or maybe the jacket is like a security blanket. I should have more sympathy for those with security blankets. Maybe you could turn it into an actual quilt?

      1. For some reason I wasn’t getting comment notifications so…here I am. That jacket is still around. I’ve tried to get rid of it subtly, obviously and even aggressively. It still finds its way back. I may have to do the quilt thing. Or…just tear it apart.

        1. Is it worth it to pet-sit for a weekend and rub it with bacon? Then another creature can tear it apart. You’ll try and stop them, of course, only tug-o-war will erupt and oh so sad jacket all gone.

  4. “schlepped” LOVE that word 😀 I always liked smaller cars for the petrol they saved. But with bigger cars, like the hatchback that you and Andy acquired, it is certainly more comfortable for pets and passengers alike. It is also much better for romantic action if anyone’s in the mood.

    It sounded like Jay was warming to you in the end. Brownie points for getting the car. Maybe there’s more to it.

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