A Lighter View …New car fever

A Lighter View …New car fever

By Karen M. Morris, Freelance Writer

We owned so many cars the first year of our marriage that a neighbor asked if my husband bought a dealership. “No,” I replied. “He suffers from a chronic case of New Car Fever.”

This condition manifests itself as a love/hate relationship with anything that drips oil. You become obsessed with a vehicle that captures your true sexual identity until you drive it off the lot. That’s where the love ends. Suddenly, it occurs to you that those numbers the salesman gave you were the purchase price and not the zip code for Idaho.

Next, there’s a little thing called maintenance that further erodes the bond. You bring the pride and joy in for a routine inspection, and a guy named Buck says he’s amazed you were able to drive the bucket of bolts in. Then, Buck informs you that everything can be fixed but not under your bare bones warranty.

The coup de grace comes at trade-in time. That’s when you discover your sexual identity has the market value of a skateboard.

Last week, Wayne started complaining about his car. “The tires are cupping,” he said shaking his head. “I think it’s the engine. If we keep driving this troublemaker, the struts are going to blow.”

Really? Just last month, we went on vacation, and our gas mileage was so incredible that every time Wayne filled up the tank, he did a fan dance. He even bragged to the neighbor that the little gas-miser ran so quietly he kept forgetting to turn it off. How quickly the love fades.

Today, he bounced into the house, started rubbing my feet, and asked if Id lost weight. I knew it was the fever talking. When he threw in, “Thank God, I made it home alive in that piece of poop I was driving,” I realized it was too late. The fever had fried his brains. The man honestly believed he was risking his life every time he fired up the poopmobile.

Wayne insisted I was tense from being cooped up all day and suggested we go for a drive to a car lot. “You look thirsty,” he said, turning into Car Town. “Why don’t you get out and stretch your legs, and Ill go get you a soda.”

Wayne came back with Frank instead of my soda. “You remember Frank don’t you, honey?” How could I forget Frank? He was the guy who sold us our last four poopmobiles and even a little pooper for our daughter.

Frank complimented Wayne on how trim he looked and asked what kind of diet and exercise regime he followed. With that comment, we headed away from the used cars and strolled up to the new beauties. Frank pointed out a car with 37,879 written on the window in wax crayon. I prayed that was the hitch weight.

In the last stages of New Car Fever, a bizarre phenomenon happens. I look upon this curiosity as a ritualistic mating dance for guys. Today, Wayne would dance with a Dodge.

He begins by whistling and rubbing his hands along the outside of the vehicle trying to find the handle. After circling the car twice, he kicks the tires and squats down to inspect the rims. Rims are important to Wayne, he has a tendency to lose hubcaps. The man has shot so many wheel covers off his car that he’s required to register the vehicle as a firearm.

Next, he checks out the options. Wayne believes in the trickle-up theory. He wants more stuff in each car. That’s how we’ve ended up with: A remote to open the glove box; airbags that shoot out the trunk; an engine capable of hauling the Titanic; more gauges than a Saturn rocket; and enough lights to qualify as a Christmas decoration. I couldn’t be prouder.

After the test drive, Wayne haggles with Frank over floor mats and a talking tire gauge. Frank throws them in, calls us shrewd negotiators, and sells us an extended warranty. As we drive off in our pre-owned monster machine, Wayne is beaming just like the first time he reproduced.

“Do you realize our payments are going to be of biblical proportions?” I asked. “And according to Frank this squad car can pass anything on the road except a gas station. ”

“Well, forgive me,” Wayne replied, “for buying this for you.”

“For me? How much speed do I need to get to the grocery store? Well, I hope you bought a ladder, too. Because, I’ll need one to scale Goliath.”

“Why didn’t you say something earlier? I thought YOU wanted it. This troublemaker probably won’t even fit in the garage.”

I could see in his eyes, he was thinking about his next vehicle. Although scientists are feverishly working on a cure for New Car Fevernone has been currently found.

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