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.
“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.
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.