After 11 years and 203,000 miles I finally relented and went shopping for a new car. It took that long and would have taken longer but for the constant and troubling illumination of several warning lights and arcane symbols on the dashboard of the elderly car, because I would rather have a colonoscopy in a 3rd World Country than go car-shopping. The very thought of wasting a perfectly fine day car-shopping gives me such palpitations that I have to take elephant tranquilizers and then I fall fast asleep in the car showroom, or try to. If I don’t take elephant tranquilizers and still go car-shopping then I get profoundly carsick just sitting inside a car parked inside a showroom.
But I bravely overcame all the above obstacles, and more, and managed to acquire a new car, which we picked up last week. Poor CSB was distraught about the color. He was convinced we were getting a dark blue car, the exciting color of a banker’s suit. Instead we have a red car. We are not sure how this happened. At least he is not.
Here are some disturbing things about a new car:
1. It is not an old car.
2. I find myself worrying about nicks on the outside and shortbread crumbs on the inside. This is not normal.
3. It took me about a decade to master certain electronic functions of the previous car. Now I have to start all over again with a GPS screen, a disembodied voice telling me to go the wrong way, and several manuals.
4. Because the old car is still in the driveway - since no one wanted to pay any money for it - the new car had to get its own new license plate which means I have to memorize a new license plate number, which means I need a new mnemonic device. The old license plate was so easy: Dead on Arrival plus Manhattan. The new one is more challenging but this is what I have devised: A musical refrain with a stutter, followed by the year in which the fire extinguisher was patented by an English man named French, which is also the year in which Peter the Great rescinded the Ban on Beards, and also – sadly in my case – the only year in the 18th century in which not a single saint was born, died, canonized or exhumed.