Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New Car, Old Anxieties

Okay, so my dashboard lights go out on my 9-year-old car one day. My nine-year old car that's all paid for and only has 46K miles. I think, gosh, that's a bit annoying. I'll tell Drew, my husband, and he'll arrange to fix it. After all, I've had the car for so many years and this is the first thing that has ever gone wrong. It could be worse.

I should have known that he would take the dashboard light issue as an omen of doom. You know what they say ("they" being guys who lust after a new car) -- once one thing breaks, you're in for a string of mechanical failures until you're left with just a pile of broken parts resembling something from The Grapes of Wrath and then, how can you sell it? After all, it's been five years since he has had to haggle with a car salesperson and he was beginning to get a little itchy. You know, men are pretty uncomplicated creatures, but why they love haggling with car salespeople is a bit of a puzzler. All I can imagine is that it is one way they have left to feel like they must do battle with the bad guys (car salesperson) to win the prize (new car). And you get a shiny new car out of it! It's a day of fun and games to a guy, but I would rather have my arm hairs pulled out one by one. In this case, we teamed up with a friend who was looking for the same kind of car, and if possible, enjoyed the haggling process even more than Drew. It turns out that he did all of the haggling (spent the better part of the day working on the best price possible), and all we had to do was show up and sign papers. I think Drew would have to admit that even though he got a good price, he feels a little cheated by missing out on the battle. It makes me wonder if Saturn, where the big selling point is no haggling, does better with female car shoppers...

Anyhoo.

I have a new car. It's shiny and big, with room for passengers, my dog, a bicycle, you name it. It's automatic, the foot pedals come up to meet my feet (which have the misfortune of being positioned on the end of some rather short legs), and the seat sits way up to give me a view of portions of the road that I only assumed were there before. This is all great, right? I don't know. I feel like I'm zipping around town in one of those electric wheelchairs that are all the rage at the retirement home. I don't have to do any work anymore. In my old car, a small, low-slung, sporty model, I had to spend a lot of effort shifting, looking up for danger (it was like being a fourth grader negotiating the hallways of a high school -- you have to look up to keep from being run over, but sometimes if you are fast enough you can squirt in between the legs of some of the larger kids to get to where you are going), keeping my drink from spilling because nothing fit in the cupholder, and then park and get up out of it, which required a sort of squat-thrusting motion with a twist thrown in. Now everything seems to be done for me and I feel, well, at loose ends. Like I should be doing something, but there is nothing left to do but gaze with disdain at the older, much less attractive, cars around me. Somehow I feel like this car is meant for larger, rounder, more suburban people. I have the feeling that my butt is getting bigger just sitting in there doing nothing. I guess the thing to ask myself is, do I want my old car back? Nah.

1 comment:

Dean said...

After so many years working at driving and doing all that... you know... work and thinking and stuff... Isn't it nice to take a break? Somewhat like buggering off to a different country for a while, but much more comfortable and with heated leather seats?