Saturday, June 11, 2011

A New Brown Car

The New Car...except brown.

We've been having problems with our car lately. We've got a Saturn. Gently used. In fact, we got it about a year ago. We traded our truck for it because the truck was using enough gas to heat the city of Wichita every week. I must admit, up until lately the Saturn has been a great car. But recently there have been some concerns.

First of all, it's leaking oil. Now, I know very little about cars. In fact, I'm the guy that once crumpled his own fender because I had a flat tire and couldn't remember if the jack attached to the fender or bumber. I had a 50/50 chance I figured and went with the fender. I was wrong.

But it's leaking oil. At least I think it's oil. It's dark and stains our driveway and it smells like the battle of the bulge. If it's not oil then we're being vandalized nightly by a very bad abstract artist.

Second of all, it won't start every now and then. The engine won't turn over because it's not getting, um, lightning bolts from the battery, or something like that. This happened yesterday.

We'd pulled into our bank's parking lot to do a little banking and turned the car off and then it wouldn't start. Angie, ever the quick-fixer, quickly asked a guy in a pick-up if he had some jumper cables. Thankfully, he did. Problem was he was as crazy as a shit-house rat.

He pulled his big truck over and attached the cables while I stood by trying to look masculine. He started talking about a girl who had just dumped him. He seemed to think we either knew this girl or were aware of the whole back-story. Angie, thinking fast, immediately began to pretend she did in fact know all about this unfortunate development in his romantic life and offered up pithy condolences. I, of course, just stared at him like a shot rabbit.

"The young ones, you'd think I'd know by now to steer clear of them."


"Oh, yeah. She just walked away from me without a word, without a 'how do you do."

"Right. It's red on red and black on black, right?"

"Oh, she was a devil. A real princess. Stabbed me right in the center of my back."

"Yes, that must have been terrible. Uh, ready? Go ahead and try to start it, Angie."

"But I got her number. She'll be sorry. In fact, I've already lined up another bitch. Taking her out tonight, in fact."

"Uh, huh. Okay. Hit the gas, Angie."

"It's the young ones that get you. Right, buddy? Them damn young ones."

"Oh, yes. Well, thanks for the jump, buddy, and, uh, good luck with the new bitch."

I've never had a real knack for conversing with nutcakes. My first reaction is always a bit succinct. "Oh, shut up." Usually not the best course of action. But we got the Saturn started and came home.

So, I guess we have to start seriously thinking about either dumping some money into the old car or just get a new one. I told Angie I either want a Toyota Cruiser or a four-door Jeep. Not because I've done any research on these two vehicles but because they look a lot like big Matchbox cars.

I do know this, however, it is very important to have a least one reliable car in Los Angeles. I'm darting off daily to auditions these days, some big, some not so big, so it's paramount to have a reliable car. And, of course, we can't really afford a new one. Well, actually, we can, but that money has been ear-marked for other things, like new Playstation games and a trip to Gettysburg and new hair care products for Angie and a new flat-screen and some whole chickens from the Armenian Market.

I've never really been able to get close to people who know a lot about cars. They bore me. I tend to stagger and faint when the conversation drifts toward cars and their mysterious inner workings. My eyes roll up into my head and a wave of bored dizziness washes over me. I drop to the ground and convulse when they start talking about transmissions and viscocity and ball bearings and clutches. My father and brother could talk endlessly about cars and engines. When they did I would stand in a corner and quietly weep.

I've been known to deeply embarrass myself and my family by blurting out, "So, have you heard the new Mandy Patinkin CD?" when the backyard talk veers toward engines.

Be that as it may, we need a new car and being the male partner in the marriage it's my god-given duty to look up the options. I'm looking at brown ones. I've decided I want a brown one. Brown is a sturdy color for a car. Oh, and one that sits a little high up. I like to be high up. I like to look down at other cars on the freeway. And one that will peel out. Not that I would peel out, but I'd like to know I could if I wanted. And one that has that little camera that lets you see behind you when you back up. Not that I'm really all that interested in what's behind me when I back up, but because it's like having a little movie screen in your dashboard. In fact, I'd like to ask for one that saves the image so I can watch it later when I'm alone, sort of re-live the whole backing out experience. It's like making your own little home movie while leaving your driveway. And one that has a snooty British woman that talks to you from the GPS. For some reason I find I trust directions from British people more than Americans. Not so much the French. I don't trust the French will give me reliable directions. And comfortable back seats. I'm always a little concerned I might have to sleep in my backseat. I had to do that once in graduate school, locked out of the house by accident, and it haunts me to this day. It seems important to be able to stretch out and get a good night's sleep in the back seats should something similar happen again. And one that can outrun a tornado or tropical storm if I find myself being chased by one on the highway. I don't want to have to pull over and take my chances. I want to outrun them. I want to be like those over-actors in the movie, Twister, and shout things like, "It's a class 5 big one! Gun it! Let's get the hell out of here!" In fact, sometimes I do that in perfectly fine weather just to liven things up when I'm stuck in traffic.

I've written all these things down, listed in their order of importance, numbered paranthetically, with exclamation points after the ones that really matter. Like the color brown. That's a deal-breaker. It's brown or nothing as far as I'm concerned. I can sway a little on the tornado speed, but not the brown.

See you tomorrow.

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