My daughter Tory and I took Sunny, her beloved yellow VW Bug, to NJ State inspection yesterday afternoon.
Tory put Sunny’s roof down, put her sunglasses on and drove to the Wayne, NJ inspection station, which is in an awful location — right where Rtes 23, 80 and 46 intersect. I clutched my chest and the ‘hang-on’ bar on the dashboard as Tory maneuvered her way through traffic.
We received an inordinate number of horn honks along the way. So many that Tory got annoyed since, “I’m not doing anything wrong, Mom.”
No, she wasn’t doing anything wrong. She was just. . .a blonde teenage girl in shorts, T shirt and sunglasses driving a yellow convertible that was bumping down the road to a heavy bass beat. Some of the service truck drivers on the road were swerving lanes as they tried to catch a glimpse of my girl.
As you likely recall since I’ve been moaning blogging about it for weeks now, Sunny failed inspection for her ‘check engine’ light being on and emissions; she has been back and forth at least four times to the used car dealership where we purchased her as they attempted to fix her. Jeff, our salesman at Towne Auto in Kearny, has been consistently polite, professional and positive as mechanics worked to find out what ailed Sunny.
Tory pulled up to the ticket dispenser at Motor Vehicle, reached up to push the button to get a dated/timed ticket, and missed the button by a mile. Sunny sits low to the ground. Twisting and turning and finally getting out of her seatbelt, Tory reached up, popped the button and grabbed her ticket. The gate opened and she jack rabbited off around the back of the inspection building toward Sunny’s date with destiny uh, the inspection man.
For the first time in my entire life NO ONE was in the inspection line. Tory drove around the back of the long building, around the curve, up the short side of the building and right to the stop sign where the woman collected her stamped ticket.
“Lane 6,” the woman said with a smile and motioned Tory on. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.
Carefully trying to stay in the sharply curving lane lines Tory pulled up to Door 6, then into the building as the inspection man motioned her to do.
He collected all the paperwork, smiled at us, then asked us to get out and walk the long walk to the little glass enclosure at the end of the striped sidewalk. That’s where we watched and waited to see how Sunny would do.
It was out of our hands now.
We watched as the inspection man plugged Sunny up to the NJ state computer. We watched him turn on her lights. We watched him check her wipers and a myriad of other things on the ‘to be checked’ checklist. Then we watched him get into the driver’s seat and hit her gas pedal HARD!
Sunny leaped forward like an Indy car at the pole position. She rocketed toward the brake testing machine attached to the floor. As I watched, horrified, she raced beyond the brake test. Thinking she had failed for brakes that only minutes ago seemed to work just fine, I watched as the inspection man hit Sunny’s brakes, HARD, screeching her to a halt mere feet from where we stood. Tory was angry. I was shocked.
The inspection man calmly got out, walked over to his little desk, peeled the back off a sticker and slapped it on Sunny’s windshield. She passed.
As we climbed into Sunny, I asked, “Were you testing the brakes?”
“Nah,” he replied. “Just having some fun.”