Monday, May 29, 2006

Auto autopsy

Memorial Day weekend, and I remembered the nation's war dead and bought a car. After all, what are people dying for in Iraq but our God-given right to drive cars?
I came to my senses and gave up the idea of buying a mega-horsepower luxury sports sedan. I bought a safe, sane and sensible Subaru Outback that's surprisingly nimble and luxurious. It has plenty of room for all the crap we haul around on trips. But I promise, this time, not to overload our car with permacrap. You see, when I traded in my old Honda CRV I suddenly had to empty it out right in front of the salesman, in the middle of the parking lot at the Subaru dealership. Despite weeks of research, here I was making a spur-of-the-moment car trade.
It was like an archeological dig, one that descended into the deepest layers of my paranoia and slobophrenia. Naturally, the car was littered with old napkins and empty water bottles, and the cup holders were crammed with salsa packets from Taco Bell. (Medium hot isn't bad at all, and worth stocking up on). But my, oh my, the hats. I had a hat under the seats for every possible personality shift, from preppy yachtsman to camouflaged lone gunman. And then there were the jackets, and sweatshirts, and raincoats and umbrellas. Be prepared, that's my motto, and be messy.
Then there were the earthquake supplies: gallons of bottled water, rolls of toilet paper (yet only one can of chili), flashlights, batteries, bags of spare clothes, hiking boots, medications, a first-aid kit, a sleeping bag and a crowbar. Just in case. To my way of thinking, if the Big One hit, I could live in my car and even launch the occasional rescue mission. When the Pretty Big One hit in '89, I had one measly flashlight, yet that made me the richest man in the office building. If an earthquake struck while I was in that Honda, I'd be the Bill Gates of emergency gear.
So I had to dump all this embarrassing stuff in the back of a squeaky clean Subaru in front of a witness, the salesman, who was a veteran of the Korean War. He probably got through that with one extra pair of socks. Honor our veterans, all right.
Anyway, the contents of the old Honda are back in the garage, the closet or the trash. All I put in the Subaru were jumper cables, a flashlight, two small bottles of water (for the dog, mainly) and one hat suitable for any mood and shade from the sunroof. Finally, I have a sun roof, and the sunny side is where I'm looking. When the Crankette is not yelling at me to keep my eyes on the road.


Anonymous kudzu said...

Congratulations! Another Subaru owner. I have been mighty happy with mine. Drive it in good health, Cranky.

But -- just curious -- exactly what hat is your end-all, be-all all-purpose choice??

9:46 PM  
Blogger PEFACommish said...

I can imagine you now, tooling down the road dressed like Thurston Howell III.

As soon as that pristine car gets its first ding, all that crap will be back in it.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Congrats! In my family, we pronounce Subaru "Suh-boob-a-roo." But not out of any disrespect. After all, we wouldn't have a nickname for 'em if we didn't drive them. They are worthy vehicles.

Heaven forbid I ever, ever, ever have to empty out one of my cars in front of anyone.

2:05 PM  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Cranky said...

One of the reasons I got a Subaru is that I know myself. Unlike Acuras and Lexi, Subarus look good with dings and dirt. In the brochure, they even show one covered completely in mud, to appeal to the Outward Bound crowd. As you can tell from this blog, I'm more of an Inward Bound type. And no, the crap is never going back in my Suh-boob-a-roo, at least not all of it.
My end-all-be-all hat is any hat I can talk through.

7:28 PM  
Blogger sfmike said...

I hate cars and I hate car culture, but I've been enjoying every word of your Car Month which Miss Crankette has been complaining about. And I love that you got to scrape off a whole layer of crap from your old life in front of everyone at the Subaru dealership. Makes it meaningful.

To your new life!

11:11 PM  
Blogger Dagny said...

You say the crap won't be going back into the new car but we'll see how long it lasts. Congrats on the new car purchase!

6:12 AM  
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5:59 AM  
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11:50 PM  

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