Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Lonely? Feeling Friendless?

If you want to feel loved and wanted, I recommend car dealerships. Show up on a car lot and start looking at new models and I guarantee you will have a new friend. He - or occasionally she - will follow you around wherever you go, inquire about your family, your likes and dislikes, even talk to you about cars. Boy, will you feel wanted.

My wife is on the verge - I hope, oh, I do so hope - of buying a new car and I have been following her around trying to look interested and knowledgeable lo these many weeks. Or possibly only two weeks. It seems much longer. She doesn't jump into this car-buyng stuff. She has folders full of print-outs, brochures, color photos, statistics and reams of hand-written notes. She has been to uncounted numbers of dealerships, sometimes two and three times. And we now have a whole regiment of new friends all of whom, not coincidentally, are involved in the lucrative field of automobile merchandising. They call us; she calls them; wheeling and dealing occurs.

This is not how I buy cars, or indeed, anything. I want three things in a car: a good sound system, an air conditioner that brings the temperature down to freezing in thirty seconds, and seats that will remain comfortable while wearing highland dress on a trip to a gig in San Diego or Santa Barbara, i.e., for at least two hours at a stretch. She has a much longer list. (And a much more reasonable list, though I blush to admit it. What are "anti-lock brakes" anyway?)

I think today may be the day, though. It looks like we have it narrowed down to a Honda Civic with some sort of special interior decor that they're going to do for her "for free". Or maybe not. She just asked for another print-out of some stats on a Toyota. But I have hopes. This afternoon may really be our last afternoon or evening spent at a car dealership.