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What’s That Noise

What’s That Noise



You are about to learn why wives should not be allowed to ride in hot rods, customs, special interest or any other kind of “old car”. There’s a reason for this bold and perhaps foolish statement. Foolish in that it could get me fired from my columnist position (the publisher and editor are both somebody’s wives) and it may also provide my wife with the initiative to serve tonight’s dinner on my forehead.

Old cars, like old car owners, have a few recurring creaks, thumps, rattles and other audible messages that let the owner know that time is marching on. But many old car owners, myself included, barely notice. And neither do my guy friends. Guys as in husband type guys. Whenever they join me in a vintage vehicle adventure we just travel merrily along with the rock & roll blaring and the mufflers barely muffling. I notice nothing other than the tunes coming out of the dash and the rumbling coming out of the rear end (the car’s, not mine). All is well. Not so when the lovely Mrs. Lambert climbs aboard.

“What’s that rattling noise?” “Does the car always make that funny sound when you accelerate?” Why does it smell so much like gas in here?” (again the car, not me). “How come the glove box door keeps falling open?” “How come the heater won’t turn off?” “Should all of those wires be hanging down?” Now, mind you, I really enjoy having my better half join me on my automotive sojourns. The problem is the ability of her and, according to my married buddies, other wives to notice things that we don’t notice, or don’t choose to notice. Yes, the tailpipe occasionally vibrates against the frame. It started doing that when I accidentally shifted the car into reverse at 55 miles an hour. Nothing’s been the same underneath since that ill fated twist of the wrist. I have successfully chosen not to notice it and have, as a result, succeeded. Not so when the former Miss Nithart rides shotgun. “Doesn’t that noise bother you?” It didn’t until she asked.

Then there’s the heater situation. The good Lord has, for whatever reason, decided that every car that I shall ever own will have a faulty heater. It either does not work or does not stop working. I deal with an over zealot heater by rolling down the window. A sweater takes care of the heatless heater. My wife deals with it by saying (you are not going to believe this) “Why don’t you fix it?” Can you believe her! If it doesn’t bother me it should not bother anyone else. I just bought a totally restored 1966 Mustang GT. Well, almost totally restored. The heater doesn’t work. Maybe now Mrs. Lambert will wear that swell sweater that I bought her for Christmas. The one with “He loves me almost as much as he loves his Mustang” stitched across the front. She’s a beauty. And so is my wife.

Most of the items that she notices are of little consequence. Yes, it would only take me two months of weekends, or a competent mechanic an afternoon, to fix the various problems. But these little faults give the car character. It’s like when your favorite T-shirt becomes your favorite workout T-shirt, then T-shirt pajama top, then work on the car T-shirt. Yes, it now has a few holes and worn spots but you feel great wearing it and think it’s just fine as it is.

So here’s my advice to all of you wives that have made it this far in my rant complaining about my wife’s complaining. Wear earplugs, roll the window up or down depending on the interior temperature, enjoy the Shell #5 perfume odor and keep quite about the banging noise that sounds like a union boss trying to break out of the trunk. Your husband doesn’t notice any of it.