I’ve never had one, but I’ve heard others talk about how hangovers feel.
I had friends in college who would get stone drunk on weekends and say the following Monday how awful they felt when they found themselves in bed with someone they didn’t even recognize.
The morning after purchasing my first NEW vehicle, a Hyundai, I felt a bit of cognitive dissonance, that is, I wondered if I made the right move.
As I brushed my teeth, I asked myself if it had all been a dream. The new car was there… ready, waiting, looking good. My senses were dulled. I made an impulsive first move, and here I am the next day, wondering if it’s true and what I named him.
“Tire-lure?” I grumble at my reflection in the mirror, toothbrush drooping from the corner of my mouth.
Spouser left for work 10 minutes earlier, and half dressed, I’m busily feeding our six cats and the neighbor’s cat, Duke, who shows up on our back porch every morning and evening about feeding time. Cheech, the dog, is ready for her walk, tail wagging like a Chinese handfan in the faces of the cats, as they crowd around the feeding dishes.
All my life I swore I wouldn’t have a car payment, and I’ve always bought used vehicles with cash. So why in the world would I go and sign away a chunk of my monthly paycheck to buy a new one? I try to remember the details of the transaction.
From the kitchen, I open the door and exit into the garage, clicking the light switch on.
“Oh, heavens,” I declare. “It wasn’t a dream; there he is!”
It all comes back to me now: Angry at UZU, I leave in a desperate attempt to break free from a vehicle that constantly broke down on me. Pushed beyond my moral fiber, I do the unthinkable and fall for Skyler — now I remember the name — “sky blue” was written on the description of the car’s detail tag.
Skyler’s blameless. There’s not a scratch on him anywhere. He’s too new to know any better. Standing here looking at him, I can literally see a halo above his hood.
Back in the kitchen, I notice there’s a halo over the stove, over the water cooler and over the dog. Then it dawns on me that this is the precursor to a migraine.
“Buying something that expensive would be stressful for anyone,” my friend Sylvia says, consoling me over the phone while I wait in the dark for my prescription meds to kick in.
Later that afternoon, I’m well enough to go to work. I search through all Skyler’s display readings but can’t find the mileage of the vehicle.
“All it says is the temperature outside is 65,” I say to Spouser. “I need to record the mileage for my records.”
“It’s 95 outside,” Spouser replies. “So 65 must be the mileage!”
That’s just plain bizarre when you think about it. I’ve never bought a car with fewer than 50,000 miles on it. But 65 miles?
The following morning, Mindy arrives and wants to have a look at Skyler. I pop the hood, and we take a gander.
“Looks like licorice,” she remarks. “Good enough to eat.”
She’s right. Not a speck of dust on the engine or bug guts splattered across the windshield. He’s pure and pretty.
Later, as we drive Skyler to the grocery store, Spouser explains that buying a brand new car is like marrying a virgin. “You’re almost afraid to do anything for fear someone will get hurt,” he says.
I flash an annoyed glance his way. “So what if I don’t want you to park close to other cars for fear Skyler will get scratched?” I ask defensively. “That’s normal. And if you park at the bottom of an incline, a runaway grocery cart will certainly ram into us.”
“So you want me to park WAY over there?” he whines.
“No, let’s park across the street in that empty lot and walk.”
“Have you gone stark raving mad?”
“Take it easy,” I say in a calm, slow voice, gently uncurling one clenched finger at a time and removing Skyler’s keys from his hand. “I’m driving next, and in a year or so when you have enough saved to empty your bank account and make payments on your own new car, then we’ll see how you act when it’s YOUR car that could get damaged.”
It’s a natural thing for every first-time new car buyer to feel a little buyer’s remorse for a day or two. But now, with bumper to bumper warrantees for up to 50,000 miles, and a promise to take Skyler back if I were to lose my job, I can’t imagine buying one any other way.
“What’s that?” Spouser asks as I hang a little sign on each sideview mirror before we walk across to the grocery store.
“Just a little something I wrote to scare would-be thieves away,” I reply.
Each 6x4 sign reads: Radioactive — Keep back 500 feet!
“Well the radio is active,” I rationalize, as Spouser shakes his head incredulously.
Post your comment on this column or about your car praise or horror story.