When I was a kid we had a next door neighbor, Mrs. S., who’d go out and start her car in the morning and rev the engine vigorously fifty or sixty times, before she’d go back in the house and leave it running. This disturbed my father who was almost always asleep when she did this but, because Mrs. S.’s driveway was right under my parents’ bedroom window, and since whatever car Mrs. S. drove had an engine that was apparently indistinguishable from a Harley going full blast, he’d be forced out of bed whether he was ready to get up or not.
I never asked why Mrs. S. insisted on revving her engine first thing in the morning, waking up people and wasting gas, but then I was on the second floor and insulated from the noise. And as an adult I finally figured it out, and understood why it kind of made sense and, recently, even did it myself. Maybe you already know why she revved her engine first thing in the morning, and if I said she moved to Nashville from Wisconsin and mostly did it during the winter the reason should become obvious. I did it after we had snow followed by a fairly warm day followed by more cold so the car had a nice thick coat of ice. I went out with the scraper but it helped to have the car running so it could warm up and revving the engine a bit helped, well, accelerate the process.
Mainly, of course, it just helped to have the engine running. One chilly winter Sunday when I was eight, after church, a friend of my parents gave me his keys and a quarter and asked me to start his car so the heater would be warmed up when he got in. I was eight and had never started a car in my life so I turned the key once in the ignition and turned on the fan so he got a nice blast of cold air when he got in his car and I got to keep the quarter.
I didn’t rev the engine fifty or sixty times because it wasn’t really necessary, but it wouldn’t have been so bad if I did. Our driveway isn’t near anyone’s bedroom—our bedroom is at the other end of the house and our neighbors’ bedroom is at the other end of their house, and my parents moved to Florida so their bedroom is approximately seven hundred miles away, so that works out well. The important thing is letting the engine run for a few minutes made it easier to scrape off the ice and snow, and what I couldn’t reach on the very top of the roof slid off by itself. Then when I got in the car it was nice and warm and the radio was already on because I’d left it on, but the best part is I found a quarter in the dashboard.