…the dust. Yep, my mini-van celebrated its fourteenth birthday by dropping a few pounds from its undercarriage. A screw here, a plastic bit there…. It was easy to know where my van had been by following the debris in the road. And I couldn’t outrun anyone since the transmission was acting its age, balking when I tried to coax it from one gear into the next. It bellied up to the gas pumps and guzzled fuel, then backfired a few times as, satiated, it rumbled down the road.
The last time I was at the car service center, my old friend, John (yes, we’re on a first name basis and exchange recipes), came out to the waiting area, shaking his head, looking sadly down at the clipboard in his hands, like a surgeon with bad news. My heart felt like it stopped and my stomach lurched. My hand flew up to my mouth and tears welled in my eyes. A hush took over the room as I sensed all eyes on me, everyone glad it wasn’t them John was solemnly standing in front of.
“Well,” he said. And paused.
“It’s not good, is it,” I said, hoping he’d yell, “April Fools!” Problem was, it was almost June.
“Well.” (Boy, he was sure stretching this one out.) “Looks like we have several issues here and, uh, your van is fourteen years old….” He cleared his throat and proceeded to list an encyclopedia of car jargon that I numbly nodded my head to, not knowing what in the heck he was talking about. Except for the word “thousands.”
I put my hand up to stop him, shakily rose to my feet, and took a very deep, long breath. “I’m headed over next door to the sales department. I’m buying a new car.” There. I said it. My days sitting next to the wilted plant in a room filled with other morose customers, waiting for the dreaded pronouncements on the condition of their cars, was now going to be a thing of the past.
Well, at least for a few months anyway.