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The problem with looking too closely

My entire weekend was spent neatly divided into four segments, in order of time spent: Working on my Jane Austen term paper, car shopping, sleeping, charity work.

This is the last full week of classes so things are coming to a head in my semester — basically, everything is due, my students are freaking the fuck out (some of them rightfully so, as one or two were clueless or didn’t take the work seriously and now have skipped so many classes that the syllabus tells them they cannot pass the class, so they must make up enough of their unexcused absences with makeup work to erase just enough missed classes to get them under the “I flaked out more than 20% of the class meetings” bar), the holidays are almost here and I’ve done NOTHING, and then of course, my car is gasping for its rack and pinion system. I do not have time to look for a car. I do not have time at all.

But look we must. We spent all day on Saturday, minus one charity board meeting, looking at and test driving cars. We went through a roller coaster of denial — essentially I just want another Murano. A fatty leather swank Murano, which is exactly what is sitting in my garage right now, weeping steering fluid onto the garage floor. Except you know what I am not? A double-income tech worker. I am a graduate student. I get paid in unlimited printer usage, Lifesaver candies and pocket lint, which do not have a very good exchange rate for Nissan luxury edition Muranos.

The roller coaster involved me trying to make a Murano or a Murano-esque car happen inside my head, but at the end of the day, I just can’t hack a big car payment while we still have an extraneous $2000 a month mortgage payment for an empty house in Green Bay. Additionally, people in this town drive like they are fueling their cars with nightmare juice and the students on campus rarely lift their head from their phones, even while they are in the parking garage trying to park. I have literally left note cards on people’s cars saying “Do a better job parking please” because I’m a cranky old lady and also, hey, teachable moment. So between the actual accidents I’ve witnessed, the accidents that have almost happened to me and the barely conscious fetuses driving their Prius into other cars in the parking deck, it’s a pretty bad decision to invest heavily in a vehicle just because the front seats feel like sitting on Santa’s lap.

The two budget-friendly contenders right now are the Kia Soul and the Honda Fit. My friend Monique drives a Fit and I had a ride in it a few years ago when we both flew from our friend Jen’s wedding back to SF — I remember being impressed with the roominess and the zippiness. Plus, she and her husband are both tall people, and I look forward to a car that both has great gas mileage and is a smaller target for reckless parkers.

The Kia Soul seems to have great headroom — I’ve never sat in one, but I did check one out in the parking lot at school and it seems like a pretty good fit. Aside from the fact that it’s driven by hamsters in the commercials, it seems pretty nice. At least the hamsters have cool music taste? As long as the turning radius doesn’t make me want to scream, it’s a serious contender. I mentioned these ideas to Esteban, who is all over the idea of a much lower car payment. He’s been dutifully researching these options, along with others, and we point them out to each other while we’re on the road, trying to gauge if we only see small tiny fairy-like people driving them or actual full size adult human beings.

The other day, Esteban was driving to the grocery store and waiting by a light and saw one of these possibilities sitting in the next lane over. He noticed that it was being driven by an older, white-haired bearded biker type guy who was definitely not petite. As he was making this this observation, the driver then scratched his left arm, resting in the open driver side window, where there was a scab. The guy peeled off the scab and then popped it into his mouth and chewed on it.

Esteban blinked (“Did I really just see that?”) and quickly turned his head forward. The guy turned his head and stared at Esteban, trying to discern whether Esteban had actually witnessed this act of human depravity, or just happened to be looking at something else. Esteban said he then did everything in his power to have a completely passive expression, while on the inside he was recoiling and trying not to vomit.

“Why!? Why did you hide it? Why did you protect his feelings?” I said, five minutes after he told me the story, which was the first time I could make actual word sounds with my mouth.

“Because! I don’t know! I DON’T KNOW!” He said, still reliving the trauma.

And people ask why women didn’t just tell Matt Lauer to put his penis away? It’s this right here — you’re shocked, you’re in horror, and you revert into a complete “Nothing just happened” protective state because you just can’t believe that actually just happened.

I’m trying to not let the Scabby the Sin Eater sway my car buying decisions. But I’m watching for him. And if I see him again, I’m going to give him my best “For Shame!” judgment stare.


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One Comment

  1. Kelley O wrote:

    I have a 2011 Honda Fit Sport and I LOVE IT!!! I moved all my stuff (except the bed and couch) from a 2 bedroom apartment in it, and you would be amazed at how much STUFF can fit in it! A computer DESK!!! 2 cats and their litter boxes and all their toys and stuff. Plus I get 39mpg highway, 34ish mpg city. It is awesome (and yes, a smaller target too). Git the Fit. 😉

    Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

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