Love Bugs and the silver screen. Who would have expected a humble little car to be internationally glamourized and revered as a movie star? Credit Herbie the Love Bug for starting it all. The legendary #53 race car paid tribute to the VW’s popularity in the ‘60s, but perpetuated it well into the next half-century. This month I even noticed a white Beetle sporting stripes and a 53 in Vancouver’s West End.
Well, my friends, our beloved Jackson the Wonderbug has also danced in the limelight. The first time was for an IKEA Christmas TV ad. Coolly parked at the side of Beach Avenue, Jackson caught the eye of an eager talent scout. An enticing note on the windshield, a couple of phone calls and – voila! – I was an overnight stage mom. The day on set was an adventure deserving of its own blog post, but let’s just say it involved an elf named Ingmar, hairspray on hubcaps, and those yummy little red candies called Swedish berries.
The next gig was for Kal Tire. It featured a friendly young woman starting university in the fall and relying on her car, Jackson, to get her to school, claiming, “It’s an oldie, but a goodie.” That’s another blog post, complete with feature film footage. PLUS! A free lesson on how to find and interpret your tire size!
But the celebrity sightings and affiliated admirers don’t stop there.
One evening, in a neighbourhood far, far away, Jackson waited while I attended a concert. I came out to find an ominous, small piece of paper tucked under the driver’s side wiper. My heart sank. Not a blasted ticket?! Nope. It was a heartwarming note saying, “May I please rent your car for my wedding? My spouse really loves your car! My name is Norris” and a phone number.
I offered to chauffeur them around on their wedding day – I’d even dress the part – but it was the morning of a workday, so I couldn’t. Yes, that’s a boring conclusion.
While on a road trip to British Columbia’s charming Sunshine Coast, another note awaited my return in Sechelt. It was a florist’s business card with a simple handwritten message, “For sale?” Turning around, I saw the shop across the street. I popped in to break the disappointing news.
Some days at work, it’s my turn to park on the street and move every two hours or the meter maids will be by. On a routine and rainy morning, I toodled down the street at the two-hour mark and from a distance saw that ever-threatening piece of paper under the driver’s wiper. Argh! But upon arrival, it was evident it wasn’t a ticket, but a soggy, rainsoaked note. Perhaps another admirer! I carefully extricated it from the grabbing claws of the wipers, dabbed water from the page and read the fiercely scrawled, “Learn how to f—ing park you idiot!”
Deep breath. Despite my daily encounters with all facets of the human population, there remains a petite part of my soul that continues to be shocked and appalled by the sheer rudeness and moronic behaviour of some people. Two hours previously, I had actually done a nice, neat job of parallel parking between two large SUVs. Why I was deemed the poor parker, I shall not know. Perhaps the configuration changed; someone else left a gap and I got blamed for it. Carma, you nasty note-writer! Carma!
But to make up for this little blip, one bright autumn afternoon Rosie and I found a handy parking spot on an unusually quiet block in downtown Vancouver, in front of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. I raced around doing errands for an hour and returned to a perfectly fresh and luscious red rose on the windshield. The coffee-drinking, newspaper-reading chap on a nearby bench simply drank coffee and read his paper, offering no explanation. Rosie’s red rose remains a riddle.
And just two weeks ago in a North Vancouver parking lot, I was gifted with this. Bug love abounds!