I did it again today. I have a legitimate excuse because I’m running about on two hours of sleep, a middling-to-high fever, not much solid food in the past two days, but I HAD to get some Christmas shopping done. I’m using the mind over matter method of healing – I do NOT have bronchitis, there is no money for doctors (After the fiasco last year, I’ve vowed to go to a doctor or hospital again only if I’m DEAD!), it’s Christmas, stupid Body, so, behave! Except excuses don’t wash; I done this before when healthy, rested and normal.
I tried to get into the wrong car.
I love cars. So does hubby. Our respective Love affairs began in our teens. Randy (hubby) lucked into the Pink Lady, a 1964 pastel pink Thunderbird with white vinyl roof. Sweet car for a 1970s high school kid and bought with money he earned working two jobs while still making Honor Roll every semester in school. My dad worked at a car dealership and got me my first car. It was a 1971 LTD Ford station wagon, seven feet long, a lumbering hunk of metal, and, important for Dad, rated a safe family car. In 1976, the Black Beast got me and my best friend cross-country and back, was our shelter when the tent we brought turned out to be rotted through from the previous year’s banana food fight, but I gladly traded it for the first car I fell in love with – a 1969 Buick Skylark Sport Coupe, gold with a rag top, 350 horsepower V-8 engine, and automatic stick. Lark could do 120 mph down the Thruway, her engine singing a solid middle C the whole time, but we only tried that once, honest! She had over 200,000 miles on her and ran great when we gave her to my mechanically-challenged mother. Lark died the next month, never to run again.
We grew up, married, went through more cars, and knew we had “made it” when we bought a Lexus. Very nice, dependable car and at 99,000 miles the only thing wrong with Beauty was the power control or computer thing died for the driver’s window. (Yes, I named all our cars.) The kids enjoyed our largesse and their dad’s quirk of getting a different car every three years. Brian received a 1965 emerald green Mustang. “Needs work, runs good!” Ripped upholstery, a steering wheel that might (and did!) come off while you were driving, cracked windshield, manual steering, manual brakes – Yikes! But, ah, when you hit the gas, the Green Bitch GROWLED her way out into the world. Me and a ton of steel roaring down I-10 at 75 mph; you betcha nobody got in our way!
This past year, we traded in two cars (yeah, bonus checks helped). Hubby got a silver Dodge Challenger, loaded, powerful, great car. A bit intimidating to me – it was a lot bigger than my sweet little Baby – a blue G37 Infiniti. I loved my car, I knew how everything worked and could program the GPS. And then, he saw IT online and said, “You like Audis, right?” Oh no! I hurried into the office. “Yes, I like Audis. No, you cannot trade my Infiniti for one!” (He got our younger son an older Audi A8, black, of course – Jim rarely acknowledges any other color – 200,000 miles, running great, full of luxury; I like that car, too, but…) I stamped my foot, I pouted, I got in the passenger seat of my baby and allowed hubby to take us to the Audi dealership. We (Baby and I) were doomed.
Hubby liked a white four-door Audi A6. We test drove it and, eh, blah…mind you, I was still pouting, determined to hold tightly to my sporty blue darling. And I loathe white cars. The silver two-door A2 was almost identical to my G37, so why trade into the same kind of car? We stood outside, me caressing Baby’s hood while the salesman tried to tempt us (me) into buying something. Key in hand, other hand on driver door, casual and relaxed, hubby said, “Where’s the red A4 that was online?” He grinned at me.
Yep, truly screwed. The bastar-er-sweet man knows me well. Hit my visual buttons – colors, jewel tones, dark, luscious blues, greens, reds…I sighed in relief when the salesman answered, “That’s out on a test drive. Would you like to wait? We have coffee and cookies – oh, here it comes!”
She purred into the lot with a tight turn and flirty swing, bold, sassy, gorgeous. Her grill was a saucy grin, her slanted headlights sporting tiny under-liner lights. Baby was adorable, SHE was sensual, glam-rock haughty, and I clenched my fists, knowing I was beyond tempted by this bright red siren with her flash and class. “It’s a four-door, it might be too big for me, I don’t need a big car, I don’t want–”
“Let’s test drive it,” the traitor insisted.
The dealer drove us to a park with a long road that looped back around to the main highway. It reminded me of a racetrack – perfect to prove a big four-door couldn’t maneuver as well as Baby. I sat in the back when hubby drove, pretending I wasn’t impressed with the comfy seats, the smooth ride, the fact that I wasn’t getting sick (I usually get motion-sick in the back seat of cars). When my turn came, I drove her like the men did – hit fifty-five and owned that curving loop.
I giggled. And tried to stop giggling. Giggled some more. She was fun! She was so much fun to drive that I knew I had screwed us out of getting any kind of discount. No one giggles on a test drive, and the daughter of a MANAGER of a CAR DEALERSHIP should know better! But…I giggled.
Parting with Baby was difficult; I had to sit in her for awhile, but my eyes kept straying to Ms. Luxury-Plus-Muscle-Plus-Prestige sitting next my little Infiniti. I wouldn’t have to worry about a Texas Edition Dually pick up driven by some ignorant drunk trying to run my placid blue sweetie off the road anymore – how can you ignore a bright red bitch of a car that screams MONEY and CLASS?
We bought her. We got her home and discovered a few things. The new Audi came with THREE books, a CD and a DVD. Another book and CD were sent to us in the mail a few days later. Two of the books explain the Navigation System (GPS). We still haven’t figured it out six months later. None of the manuals, CDs, DVDs, whatever – nothing contains any info on how to set the clock! I hate Daylight Savings Time; now I have a moment of fear as I think I’m an hour late until I remember the Red Queen won’t tell me how to change her clock over!
Love is never perfect.
Today’s Christmas shopping went well and as my body floated out of the store on a puddle of fever-sweat, I was happy to be done. I took a deep breath and focused. Shopping was easy, getting out of the parking lot, through the traffic and home was gonna be Hell. The parking lot was mayhem and I hurried across it, eyes darting about because here in Texas, parking lots are as dangerous as the roads. Folk out here climb in their pick-em-ups, vans, or Stupid Useless Vehicles, jam their phones to their ears and race off – all without looking to see where they’re going or who might be in their way. Two said vehicles were in jousting positions, revving their engines, their supah-mom drivers waiting to do battle over my parking space.
I grabbed the door handle, juggling my bags, cursing the fact that the remote key in my purse wasn’t unlocking the door…oh. I lifted my gaze from the blue Infiniti’s door and sheepishly trotted over to my big red bitchin’ Audi. Horns honked in frustration behind me. I ignored them and slammed my door shut. Silence. Push the start button and with a muted purr and silken whisper – as if she knew I wasn’t at my best yet forgave me for still loving small blue Infinitis – Queenie got me safely home.
Still, you were right, Body. Today, we should have stayed in bed.