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We can live like Jack and Sally if we want

I’ve been driving Esteban’s Concorde a lot in the past few weeks, as my car has been at the dealer on a weekly basis, for the critical repairs of a leaky transmission line, at which time they ordered a replacement middle speaker (because the Violent Femmes laugh heartily at Chrysler’s wimpy little Inifiniti speakers), which was installed last week, at which time they ordered a replacement for the steering wheel, which was installed yesterday.

That one was probably the most frivolous (because come on, driving around with a buzzy front speaker is practically in violation of the Geneva convention) and also the one that pleases me the most. The entire grip of the steering wheel had been altered somehow, as though it had melted and then only partially rehardened. Sometimes on my drive to class, I would absentmindedly roll my fingers and bring off long tendrils of the grey mucilage and then mentally chastise myself for vandalizing my own car. It always gave me an ishy feeling while driving it, and I would imagine strange things about the circumstances in the car’s first twenty thousand miles. Perhaps there was an industrial accident involving acid or maybe even radiation. Perhaps the previous owner tried to escape a certain toxic death in the M, their poisonous hands melting the grip of the wheel as the miles went by. And then they realize that they have been imbued with superpowers and abandon their car in order to join the Legion of Doom. Because only a latent evil genius would drive the Chrysler 300M. That or pasty white middle-aged men wearing Dockers, looking slightly confused at how they turned into pasty white middle-aged men wearing Dockers and are not, say, members of Aerosmith.

The ishy steering wheel was the only real problem with the car when I bought it, one I didn’t even notice because I was still all het up about the idiotic Boy Scout salesman who wouldn’t be realistic about the price of a four-year-old Volvo S80. But what I didn’t know was that it was secretly bugging Esteban as much as it was secretly bugging me, so when he learned that it would only cost about a hundred dollars to get it replaced, he made the appointment tout suite.

So yesterday, I was on Concorde duty once again, which is always like I’ve woken up and found myself in a slightly altered reality. The Concorde is the less-attractive silver cousin to my graphite M. The seats are of practical cloth, the shift is on the steering wheel, and it doesn’t so much drive as schlep. The reek of old man seems to have sunk into its crevices. Esteban doesn’t seem to mind it so much because he was essentially born with the aesthetic tastes of a retiree. He tried kicking it up a notch (bam) with a plug in air freshener that lit up a glowing blue nuclear radiation symbol. The effect was the old man smell blended with the odor of burning circus peanuts. But at least he erred on the side of edgy.

So, knowing that I would have to drive Esteban’s car, with his strange radio presets (want to know who listens to sports talk radio? That would be my husband) and single CD player, I burned a quick CD mix to listen to in the car. When we were on our way to pick up my car at the dealer, Esteban quirked an eyebrow at the radio and punched the preset button, only to have nothing happen.

‘I burned a CD,’ I explained. ‘You can keep it, if you want.’

He paused and listened, then looked at me and said ‘I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to know that I’ll still love you, no matter how you answer, ok?’ He took a deep breath and then said, ‘Have you gone Emo?’

‘Yes. Yes, I think I have.’ I replied, listening to the full angsty wail of Yellowcard assuring me that I was the only one, the only one.

‘I mean, I guess it makes sense, but I have to say, this stuff all sounds exactly the same. Every song is sung by the same twenty-four year old boy who is all full of’ feelings and stuff.’

Anyway, apparently, I’ve been outted. I’m the oldest Emo girl in the entire world. I’m currently shopping for ironic retro eyeglasses. With this proclamation, I feel poised for the hipness of the year 2000.

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