The Norman Transcript

May 3, 2013

What lights the fire?


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Under normal circumstances, Hubby is methodical and cautious, particularly when he is behind the wheel of a car. In fact, he is probably tired of hearing “You drive like a grandpa.” This label is not only accurate, but has been the case long before the grandchildren were even a mote in the eye of God.

This is the same fellow who proposed two weeks after we met.

There are certain things which possess the power to cause a person to strap on a jet engine beneath his wings and move out of the “speed limit” comfort zone. In Hubby’s case, just mention the words “buy a new car” and he moves with the speed of light.

In five years, my little Lexus Lite (aka Toyota Avalon) has racked up nearly 150,000 miles. Of course when it comes to Toyotas, that mileage would be the equivalent of a teenager in human terms. But just like a teenager, the car was beginning to demand more and more money. This was probably the car’s retaliation for making it work beyond the normal 20 or 30 minute.

Over the past several months the signs of car fever were beginning to pop up. The casual mention “I stopped by the dealership today, but they didn’t have any Avalon in stock.” Then there was the appearance of new car catalogs accompanied by the innocent question. “Which color do you like?”

The most recent Hubby comment was quite creative. “We need to jack up your car and run a new one under it.” Then Lexus Lite demanded, in a high squealing voice, a new pair of brake shoes. Just for the heck of it, I asked for and received their best quote on the new Avalon and showed it to jet-pack Hubby.

As it happens he had a day off which means he cooks dinner. When I arrived home, he mentioned seeing the new Avalon. Dessert that evening came in the form of a casual “They’re open until 9 o’clock, do you want to go get the car?”

Once I regained consciousness, my stomach clenched with dread at the thought of spending untold hours at a dealership doing the let-me-talk-to-my-manager cha cha.

Why can’t the process be as simple as buying a head of lettuce? You walk in, choose the best one, pay for it and go home. In a perfect world…

Before we left the house, I called the salesman who sent me the quote.

“Hi, we’re coming to buy the Avalon, but I don’t want to bring a sleeping bag. Can we make this quick and painless? If not, I won’t buy the car.”

“They are preparing the car as we speak and I promise to get you out in about an hour.”

Upon our arrival, I told the salesman I didn’t want to hear the spiel about an extended warranty. He was good with that and filled out the paperwork.

And then the man in black arrived for the financing stage. As Hubby and I followed him to the office I said, “I’m not going to be polite.”

“Why not?” the guy asked, laughing.

“I don’t want the warranty spiel.” He pulled out the warranty sheet and wrote DECLINED across it.

Long story somewhat shortened, we bought the car and were out in little over an hour.

The car is a freaking computer and computers hate me. You breathe wrong and some action instantly happens. Note to self: Keep hands on wheel and away from the touchy feely screen.

As we turned on our dark little county road, Hubby asked me to turn on the high beam and seemed satisfied.

“Does this car have the Hydrogen Peroxide headlights?” she asked.

“Do you mean Halogen headlights?” he gently corrected with a straight face just before we both fell over laughing.

Well, at least he knew what I meant. And it did start with the letter “H.”

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Check out her novel “The Dionysus Connection” on Amazon or ask your bookstore to order it for you. Visit her website, www.elizabethcowan.com.