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Sep 1, 2010

Orientation

My father met Patrick over dinner back when I was a wee freshman in college, still financially attached and barely 18 years old. Things seemed to go well enough, better than expected even, but that didn’t stop my hands from sweating when my father and I drove away from the restaurant. I looked out the window to keep from meeting his eyes. “So, Dad.” I was nonchalant and cool. “What do you think of Patrick?”


My father is not a man of many words and certainly not one to bestow undue praise. He paused before delivering his impression.


“He seems to be car-oriented.”


This is possibly the most accurate assessment one could make about my husband.


I’m not sure how this happened, but somehow we are looking at getting a new car. It’s my fault, really, and I shouldn’t have let this happen. I was tired and my brain had already sent my Internal Censor home for the day so when I said to Patrick over dinner a few weeks ago, “I’m thinking about getting a new car” I was clearly not right in the head. He has not shut up about it since.


We have looked at hundreds of cars online. He has probably looked at thousands on his own, saving only the good ones for me. This activity mostly involves Patrick at the computer flipping through images so fast I can’t even tell the exterior color and spouting facts and stats and tidbits about the history of the company, all while I sit behind him on the couch, eyes glazed over, picking at my nails while mentally fretting over my expanding to-do list.


Patrick comes by his car-oriented nature honestly. Both of his parents are, to some extent, contributors to this monster in my husband. The three of them value brand almost above all else, but not in a snobby way (so they say). The difference that I see between them and the snobs is that they value the craftsmandship of the brand and, importantly, don’t understand why EVERYONE doesn’t drive a luxury car. You just go older and/or more miles until you find one that you can afford, but just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you don’t deserve luxury.


You may think that is semantics, but it is important to me not to be married to a snob, so I tell myself what I have to.


I can get behind that logic. There is no denying the superior engineering of luxury cars, regardless of age. What I can’t get past, though, is my own vanity. What would people say if they knew I drove THAT? We owe more to the government in student loans than we make in five years, how can I justify driving something like THAT? Not to mention, I, personally, am not even employed as of yet. Patrick says, Bah, you’ll be employed soon enough and clicks through to another set of whirling photos. I resume the nail picking.


Here is what I want out of a new-to-me car, in order of importance:


1. Safety: Reason #1 for trading in the tin can I currently drive. Colin is too important to risk. The end.

2. Back Seat Space: Reason #2 for trading up. Colin is currently squished in the back seat, so what about driving around the Two Best Nephews Ever? Or what if we have another kiddo? Also, there are the dogs, who get relegated to the floor or someone’s lap.

3. Eco Conscious: This means both reasonable if not excellent fuel economy as well as cloth instead of leather seats/upholstery and no wood paneling. (I also prefer as few tech-tastic gadgets as possible, but that’s less of a requirement and more of a comfort level.) I am not an SUV or mini-van girl either.

4. Cheap: Patrick and I have different budgets in mind, but, you know, the cheaper the better.

5. Fun to Drive: Sadly at the bottom of the list, but still important enough to rule out a car we drove the other day. (Sorry Volvo Cross Country. You’re just not worth selling my soul.) Even though I am a mom and kinda old now, I am still vivacious on occasion and drive like I have somewhere to be (I am usually late). I enjoy driving my small, maneuverable, stick shift zip-mobile now and am hesitant to do away with that joy completely.


I have friends who have embraced the Mom Van, like my friend Allyson. I totally support that and think it is great for them. It’s just not for me. Though the Swagger Wagon is undeniably awesome.


So what is there to do? I have unrealistic expectations of both brand and function, resulting in my discarding all possible options. Poor Patrick is about to implode and I don’t know how many more car discussions our marriage can withstand.

4 Readers rock!:

Anonymous said...

IndyGo +/- Clarian people mover is always an option

barrie said...

I will never forget when I had to have AAA come jump my old truck (recently replaced with a slightly newer old truck!) in your driveway and the guy knew you all because he had been there when you were pregnant with Colin and Patrick made you help push that volvo up the hill!!!!!!!

Leonore said...

You'll have to ask Patsy, but I think Patrick's first word was - seriously - "Mercedes". Engineering is great, no doubt, but safety features have become almost ubiquitous. I go for reliability... not sexy, but long-term it's economical. (so wrote the woman with 3 vehicles over 10 years old, each with 260K miles each, and still rollin')

Long Family Chronicles said...

Wow, I made the blog!! Thanks!! :) I have to tell you what ... I was very embarrassed to drive it around ... however, after driving it for 2 weeks with little Sophia in tow ... I can't believe I didn't do it earlier! The 4 door honda accord combined with 28 lbs of sophia weight was killing my back ... the automatic sliding doors and automatic trunk pop and close are amazing!!! :) Good luck finding your "new" car!!! I wish you the best!!