Pin It The smell of new car wafted about me as I sat in the driver’s seat at the Honda dealership. I closed my eyes and allowed the feel of the brand-new used CR-V to settle itself over me. It was like arriving at a place and a time that was not only comfortable, but familiar as well.
I liked it.
The price tag? Not so much liked, and the color was not so much liked, either. The dusty blue exterior just didn’t seem quite right. I arrived at this conclusion from the simple fact that I love red. After all, my last two cars have been so, and I’ve driven the same vehicle for the past nine years. It’s a fact for which I’m well-known and recognized. In fact, I’ve had several folks make it a point to tell me, “Hey, Teachinfourth, I saw you today…you drove by and I waved to you. When your car passed I saw that it wasn’t you driving, so then I understood why you didn’t wave, so it really wasn’t your car, but I felt like I saw you today.”
Such is life when I’ve become associated with every little, red CR-V that buzzes around town. My dad has even admitted that he will do a double take when he sees one, just in the off chance that it just might be me—even though we live some five hundred miles from each other.
So blue didn’t feel quite right just now, I needed crimson, baby. Crimson.
I headed up to Salt Lake to take a test drive in a 2007 CR-V. Not only was it my brand and make, it was red. Can I say that again? It was RED. I let the freeway fall behind me and let my excitement rise as I came closer to my destination. This could be it. Like the feeling one gets before taking out a really hot a blind date, the butterflies were doing a number in the bowels of my stomach.
I took the freeway exit and ended up at the dealership in a matter of minutes upon entering SLC. I eased my car into a vacant parking stall and began to walk among the sea of vehicles, which spread about me like Legos after being played with by an obsessive-compulsive child with perfectionist tendencies.
It was only a few moments before I spotted the car, the one that had haunted me since I’d seen its image on the Internet a week ago.
It. was. beautiful.
I walked to the vehicle and ran my fingers over the smooth contours and aerodynamic shell.
I liked it.
Within about the space of ten seconds, a slicked-back salesman straight from the stereotypical hall of fame approached me; a smile as wide as the kid who’s found all the Easter eggs blanketing his face.
“Looking for a car, sonny?” he asked with a gesture toward the car I’d been looking at. He then introduced himself as, Stan ‘the car man’ Schubach. I’m always leery of people who add nicknames and quotes into their introductions, and look like a brother to Danny Devito from Matilda.
Despite his outward appearance of that of a creepy uncle, and his greasy demeanor, I told him that I wanted to take this car for a spin. I also let him know up front that I was not interested in buying something today—but was simply looking and exploring options.
Car Man Stan nodded appreciatively, and let me know that he would need to make a copy of my driver’s license. That is, if I were planning on test-driving today. He handed me a set of keys as I passed over the only physical proof on my person that was indeed who I am.
As he walked toward the office to make the photocopy, I opened the driver’s side of the door of the car which had haunted my dreams and gasped—but not in the way one might imagine. It wasn’t an excited type of gasp, but more like the ‘hold-your-breath-gasp’ because standing at the door of that car was like being hit in the face with the breath of a demon in the sulfuric bowels of hell.
The ebbing excitement I’d felt on the way to my destination died away like the last of the pressure of a shut-off faucet and a front-yard sprinkler. I was deflated. I was depressed even.
The smell from the car was reminiscent to the odor of my aunt’s house, (I’ll not mention her name here so that Janet’s identity will be protected). This was the house I found myself at from time to time when I was growing up. It was depressing and painful; my eyes would sting and my throat would burn at the noxious, choking smell of cigarettes from two chain-smoking relatives. The car—which had once been a dream—was rapidly becoming a nightmarish childhood memory I’d managed to block out for years.
The dealer came back—dealer sounds so bad, doesn’t it? It sounds like I’m taking part in an illegal drug exchange. For how I was feeling at that moment, I might have well just been.
We took the car for a spin around a few blocks with the windows down and sunroof open; however, this wasn’t enough to brush away the dirty feeling which seemed to coat my very skin, like the saran-wrapish layer of skim forming over the top stagnant water.
In a word, I felt icky.
I couldn’t wait to get out of the car when we’d made it back to the dealership. It was at this point that Stan, the Rip-Off Man seemed to realize that his customer was not impressed, and endeavored to bring my attention to the car sitting next to the one I’d just test driven…only a few years newer than the CR-V I have now, and in much worse condition. He smoothed it all over with, “This baby is che—r—ry. You should see the interior, it is flawless leather and a steal at this price!” He proudly waved his hand at the car with its faded paint, rock-chipped hood, and dent in the front fender—rusting.
Wow, all I can say is that Stan and I have inverted opinions on what constitutes a car in cherry condition. This particular ‘cherry’ looked an awful lot like a lemon to me.
I excused myself from Satan Stan, and returned to the comfortable and familiar world I had arrived in. I closed my eyes and allowed the sweet, lingering smell of my last desert trip to wash over me. It felt safe. It felt cozy. It was at this point I realized—that at least for now—I am already home.
Now, I just need to wait for Stan, Driver’s-License-Forgetting-to-Return-Man, to mail me back the license he forgot to return at the dealership.