Monday, April 11, 2016

Robin! To the Conmobile!

Greetings, WYMOP readers!
Some of you may have seen me, here or on Facebook, refer to my little Mini Cooper as the rolling shoebox, or the red tinymobile or even, most recently, as my little Mini Cooper. The thing is small. I recently slid neatly into a parking spot that seemed reserved for me, because the front half of the slot was filled with plowed snow, keeping anyone with a grown-up car from using it. When shoveling the driveway in the winter, I don’t need to remember my keys to move my car: I simply pop it into neutral and push it forward and back in front of the garage to get it out of my way.
I’m pretty sure I could carry the motor in my backpack.
I caught some flack when I switched from my Jeep to the ruby slipper. Some people couldn’t understand why I’d give up all that space, all that maneuverability. Why I’d choose to get stuck in the snow. But I’ve lived my whole life in New England. I’ve driven through thirty New England winters. I might not do any four-wheeling, but as long as there are plows on the road I tend not to get stuck, even in a Mini.
And believe it or not, I  measured the back of the car before I bought it, just to make sure I could fit in what I knew I’d need to fit in. And I can—the only thing I haven’t tried moving yet is my canoe, and I may give that a shot this summer.
But one of the real reasons I wanted to give  Mini a shot came up just this weekend. When you’re a writer, one of the things you do to help get your work out there in the public eye is attend book signings, readings, and conventions. This weekend I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday commuting out to Marlborough, MA to attend Super Megafest with the New England Horror Writers, of which I am a member. I packed all my convention stuff in the back of my car and drove south: a pair of  3-level rolling drawer sets that just fit under a folding table, my six-foot folding table, my banner, a camp chair, small cooler, lap desk, computer bag,  three boxes containing about 75 books, a duffel bag of extra clothes, my computer bag, and two large shallow baskets for candy (optional).
I told you I measured the little son of a bitch.
So I drove back and forth on Friday (leaving most of my gear in the convention hall for the weekend—I wasn’t going to cart that stuff home until Sunday) and Saturday, and made the final drive out there Sunday morning. Overall, I’d put about 250 miles on the car, and I still had to get home. Late Sunday morning, I was talking to another of the horror writers, one making roughly the same daily commute, and he mentioned having to fill his gas tank that morning on the way in. He wasn’t happy about it: he’s one of the ones who questioned my purchasing a Mini last year. He drives an SUV, and couldn’t understand why I no longer did.
“I filled my tank Friday, before driving out here,” I said.
“Me, too,” he said. “And I had to fill it again this morning—otherwise I might not have made it home tonight.”
“Oh,” I said. “ I got here this morning with a little more than half a tank left.”
He stared at me for a moment, then walked away.
This morning I sent my friend a text:
Got gas when I got home last night. Needed a little more than half a tank. $20.47, and the Mini takes super.
A minute later he responded:
I’m thinking of a verb and a pronoun right now.
“Love it?” I sent back.
Strike one.
“Feelin’ it?” I tried.
That’s two.
“@#$& you?” I queried.
And that’s one of the reasons I switched to a Mini.  

Talk to you later!

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