Shiftless

Damn — Real Life has really interfered with blog time lately.  That’s the trouble with Real Life.  Well, one trouble, anyway.

First up: some sad news.  Harry Crews died.

And as long as we’re mourning, so did Bert Sugar.

Which illustrates another pesky trouble about Real Life: Real Death.

On the home front, I hereby announce that the uniquely hideous phlegm yellow Scion box I’ve been motoring around in has gone back to the dealership from which it emerged.  This means people who know me and Guido can stop emailing and texting that they’ve spotted me somewhere — anywhere — rendering it virtually impossible for me to get away with anything at all for the last 42 months.  The vehicle’s wince-inspiring hue served as the dead opposite of anonymity.  It also repelled insects and spoiled appetites.

That's mine on the right. It was trying to mate.

“If you didn’t like the color,” the saleshole asked, reasonably enough, “Why did you buy it this way?”

Answer: as Henry Ford said about his Model T, “You can get it any color you like as long as you like black.”  There wasn’t any option, and repainting the exterior would still have left the same color highlights in the interior.

So bye-bye.  And bye-bye to Guido’s Scion TC, too: 5 years old and just 18,000 miles.  We’re not a 2-car unit any more, and while that may change, we’ll save some auto payments and insurance costs.  Getting used to sharing one car again will probably not be nearly as challenging as, say, sharing one bathroom.  Neither one of us is ready for that.

The new car is a RAV-4 Sport.  This is our fourth RAV-4, but Yes, sadly, it’s our first automatic transmission.  I called around to numerous dealers with small SUVs that allegedly offer manual shifts.  Zero results.  The final straw was Ford — Ford!  The ultimate American vehicle!  The website advertises a Sonata with a 5-speed manual option   But when I call a local dealer, there’s none in stock.  I ask what I would need to do if I want to test-drive one.  He checks his magic computer and says not only isn’t there one in his lot, or south Florida, he can’t find one in the state of Florida.

Silence.

You  don’t really sell  these, do you.  In fact, they’re mythical beasts that only live on your website and in naïve customers’ dreams, right?

“Well, I can’t say I’ve ever had a customer ask me for one before,” he tells me in a polite drawl that suggests he considers me a pustule.  “Seems like most people prefer not to shift their own gears any more.”

No, I didn’t tell him what you just thought I should have.  After all, the Pope is in this hemisphere, and his Church advises that it’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.  Besides, it’s not his fault, it’s mine.  I’m a relic, a throw-back, a fossil, and yeah, a pustule.

So we fucking bought the fucking RAV-4 with it fucking automatic transmission and we fucking well like it.

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This entry was posted in People Who Died, Died, Shaken and Stirred. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Shiftless

  1. Five Speed says:

    And might I add shifty. Wait a minute how can you be “Shiftless” and “Shifty” at the same time

  2. rbhexem says:

    Up in this end of the world, we call that color calf-shit yellow. Lots of rednecks up here. Did you get laughed at alot, driving that car?

    • Squathole says:

      I got laughed at daily. I collected laughs like shit collects flies. So did the car.

      In the early days, I’d pull up at a red light beside another vehicle. The driver would glance over — straight face — and let his look linger for an extra moment. Then he’d turn hi head and say something to his passenger, who in turn looked over (straight faced) at me and the car. Then one would say something to the other, and they’d both start laughing.

      Others just shook their head sadly, no doubt pitying the women in my life..

      To be fair, the polar opposite situation happened, too. People would call out, “I LOVE your car! Love it!” Little kids would jump up and down and point with delight. One time Guido and another adult drove a bunch of girl scouts upstate, and they all wanted to drive in “the gold car.”

      Every one of the adults who complimented the color was Black, often a Caribbean national. I suspect my driving this car through south Florida neighborhoods with this population did more for racial harmony that a season of conferences. (I’m darker than a lot of Caribbean folks, but I’m not Black.)

      **

      Nice to see you here, rbhxm — hope you don’t mind if I link your blog. I have one poet who posts here very occasionally who goes by “Miami Harold;” maybe he’ll pay you a visit as well. And as I mentioned before, I miss Rather, too.

  3. guido says:

    “It also repelled insects and spoiled appetites”
    Yeah, but it didn’t repel bird shit.

  4. Lois Terms says:

    Also dead this week: Adrienne Rich.

  5. Blue Scion says:

    He never writes. He never calls.

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