Pussy factor 

That's how they get ya

Here I thought Grant and Lary were big pussies because they bailed on me when it came to driving up North to pick up my vintage 1972 Shasta camper I just bought on eBay with the massive movie-rights check I finally received six months after the film option expired. And when I say "massive," you need to know I am being as sarcastic as possible, because it really wasn't that much to begin with, but after I got finished doling out all the fees and commissions to the various caggle of barnacles attached to deals like this, there was hardly enough left over to get my cat spayed.

So, thank God my cat is already spayed. Instead, I very quickly, before the money completely evaporated, bought that trailer for a whopping $650. You heard me! How awesome is that? I like to think I know a lot about trailers seeing as how my father was a traveling trailer salesman. But the fact is, I don't really know that much except that I've had a huge hankering for my own lately, and not just any, but a Shasta camper with the wings still intact and everything.

I bought it before I figured out that I would have to tow it. I know it was back in my mind somewhere that towing the thing was a necessity, but I didn't think about that. I just thought about how cute it would look parked in my back yard with a patio set out front and some potted flowers or whatever. I just had this vision in my head, and I figured the particulars would fall into place.

"Lookit my trailer I just bought!!!" I blared in e-mails to Grant, Daniel and Lary. I got the major seal of approval from everyone, even Grant, who is hugely discerning about purchases like this. I wanted to buy a 1978 VW Bus recently, and he talked me out of it because there was rust in the wheel wells and a dent in the front bumper. "But it's still got the sink cabinet in there!" I protested. In the end I had to concede the Bus wasn't a wise purchase.

Not like the trailer! The trailer, now, is a tiny 10-foot piece of paradise right there. So I naturally assumed all three of the boys would go with me to get it, but Lary pussied out because he said he'd have to kill me and Daniel both if he went, and that would entail twice the effort at body disposal, and Grant pussied out because, well, I still don't know why. I think it's because he secretly fosters a man-crush on Lary these days, and doesn't want to be so far apart from him, even if it is for only two days and a good cause.

Daniel, of course, was on board. He is always 100 percent behind me for the really important stuff. Plus, he's unemployed as well -- or "self-directed," as we refer to it now that we've decided not to pursue actual jobs in the sense that actual jobs entail working for other people. So I left at dawn to go get him, and before I go any further, I want to point out that I'm normally fabulous about preparing for trips. I am a master packer, for one. I pride myself on that. But this time I forgot everything, including the power cord to my computer, which is the lifeline to how I now make my living.

But that is not the worst of it. The worst of it is that the second I pulled out of Daniel's driveway, the oil light went on in my car, and I've been told that oil lights, when they are illuminated, are best not ignored. I actually did that once, and the engine block of my '69 VW Bug cracked like a cantaloupe rind.

The closest place to address the oil-light problem was a tire store down the way, so we pulled in there and they said they'd be happy to change and replenish my oil, plus fluff other stuff up in there, for only, like, $12, but hey, looky here, there was a big bump on my tire, which meant that the "belt broke inside," whatever the hell that means, and they kept talking until I heard words I did understand, which was the cost estimate of $150 to replace the tire. "You can't go on a road trip with a tire like that," the mechanic says, clucking with disapproval. "It's gonna blow any minute."

And right here is where my pussy factor always fucks me up. First, I'm female, and that right there guarantees I pay double for tires. That is just a fact -- ask anyone female. Second, I'm pretty positive he was gauging me for the price, and I'm pretty positive my tire probably would not have blown up any minute, and I'm pretty positive that even if it did blow, I could change it on my own since I've done it tons of times, but I wasn't absolutely without a doubt positive, and I just kept envisioning Daniel decapitated because of some freak blow-out on the freeway involving us and a truck full of farming implements, and I slapped my credit card on the counter. "Do it," I sighed. What a pussy I am.

Hollis Gillespie is the author of Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories and Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood. Her commentaries can be heard on NPR's "All Things Considered."

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