Cassie is a car guy? Who knew!?


Photo courtesy Krisofer Reynolds

Hey howdy, everybody. I hope y’all are enjoying this so-called “winter” we are having. I know we all see all the snow and ice on the news in all those faraway lands like New York or D.C. and say, “Thank God we are in Texas.” But I really hope we get some actual winter weather. In my head, I sound like an old-timer when I think, “If we don’t get a good ol’ hard freeze, dem bugs are gonna be somethin’ awful come spring and summer.” That’s the kind of shit I’ve heard my Grandma say my whole life and now I catch myself saying it. If I ever hear myself saying, “Storm’s a-comin’, I can feel it in my bones,” I will have officially become an old person and I will start eating dinner at 4 p.m.

My husband and I have started talking about buying me a new car. I am not what you would call a car guy. All I need is a reliable car that will get me from point A to point B without me getting laughed at. I do enjoy pretty cars and such, but having a super sleek brand new baby is not very high on my list of priorities. The only reason we are even thinking of getting a new car is because I have put a shit-ton of miles on my Jeep Liberty. Living in Midlothian and working in Oak Lawn has jacked up the age of Miss Liberty. She still runs perfectly, but the hubby wants to trade her in while we can, before we start having problems with her. If it were up to me I would drive her ’til it she died or had to be put down; I’m loyal that way.

My first car I had all of three weeks. I was 17 and my Dad gave me a junker — a ’75 Impala. It was huge and hideous. It was copper-colored, luckily — you couldn’t tell what was rust and what was paint. The front seats were torn up but the back seat was perfect. I remember my Dad telling me the back seats were nice and roomy, so when I got a girlfriend, I’d have a place to “do her.” His words. Boy, was that wishful thinking on his part. I drove that car exactly three times ’til it gave up on living and just died for good. My Pawpaw towed me to a place to sell it for scraps. I think I got 200 bucks.

My second car was an ’85 Toyota Tercel I bought from a dealership. I over-paid and got screwed because I had no idea what I was doing. My Mom took me to the car dealership in Pleasant Grove and cosigned so I could get a car, then she left me. By the way, did I mention that Miss Tercel was a manual transmission and I had never driven a stick … shift?

I had to be at work 15 minutes away in two hours; it took the full 120 minutes for me to get there. I grinded those gears and popped that clutch so many times I thought the car and my head would explode. I spent the next week teaching myself to drive a stick in the parking lot of the General Cinema in Mesquite. Then I was set. I had a reliable ride to get me where I really wanted to be. The place that called to me. The place I would one day call home. The Gayborhood. Oak Lawn. Queer Mecca of Texas.

Every day I had off and every evening I was not working, I made that drive to Oak Lawn from Balch Springs. Even if it was just to go to Hunky’s for a burger, I would make that drive, just to be near my people. I quickly made friends and dated boys that lived in the area, so I had more and more reasons to make the drive. The prospect of getting laid is a great motivator to put some miles on your ugly little car. Keep in mind, I was not the best driver — I had only been driving for a little while. I don’t think any teenager is a good driver, especially when they have only had a few lessons. I actually failed the driver’s test the first time I took it. The light turned yellow and I thought, oooh better hurry. So technically I ran a red light. Whateves.

The first time I ever drove in the rain I had a wreck. I was on my way to Oak Lawn to have lunch with some boy I was dating. It was going to be our third date, and you know what that means: We were going have sex for the third time.

Anyhoo, the rain had stopped but the streets were still very wet. I was coming up Lemmon when the light turned yellow and the car in front of me decided to stop. I had to put on my brakes kind of hard and slid right into that car. The car I hit was a Jaguar. Of course it was. I jumped out of my car and ran to the Jaguar’s driver door noticing the broken headlight and crunched in bumper of my car. The driver opened the door and my heart stopped. The woman’s face was all bruised and black. It looked like a baseball had hit her right in the nose going 90 miles per hour. I screamed when I saw her face and just started saying I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I was about so run to a pay phone and call an ambulance when she grabbed me and said, “Dahling, you didn’t do this,” as she pointed to her face, “I just had a nose job.”

I just kept asking if she was okay and how sorry I was; she just kept hushing me and telling me to calm down, and saying, “it’s just a car.” She walked back to inspect the damage, I was so panicked. All I could think was how was I going to pay for this and that my mom’s gonna kill me and oh-my-poor-car. She said, “My car has only the tiniest of scratches. I tell you what, you take care of the damage to your car and I will take care of mine. No need to get the insurance involved.” By the way, for some reason I felt like I was talking to royalty, this bitch had class oozing out of every pore. Even with the bruised, fucked-up face you could tell how beautiful she was. Her clothes, her hair… everything was on point. I said okay with a sigh of relief, she got back in her car and drove away with an elegant wave.

Now my car on the other hand was not looking good. Although she was drivable, she looked a hot mess. Miss Tercel looked like one of her eyes had been punched out and she could see around corners.

She was ugly to begin with but now she was Fugly. I got the light replaced and pulled out most of the dent but she was never the same. I had to say goodbye to her not long after that. Last I heard she was a home for wayward raccoons in some junkyard. RIP Miss Tercel.

If and when I have to say goodbye to my current car, that will be a hard day. I love my Jeep Liberty. She kept me safe when I was hit by this bitch named Miritza that ran a red light. She got me home safe on those nights I probably should not have been driving. She has help shield the masses with her tinted windows when I have had to go somewhere in half drag. Miss Liberty has had to endure my horrible singing when I am trying to learn a new song for the show. My car is the place I do all of my best crying.
When my Pawpaw and my dogs Dax and Evee passed away, I boo-hoo’d peacefully with no judgment. I take good care of her and she has taken good care of me. I guess I am a little bit of a car guy after all.

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.