new car is taking
some getting used to.
dashboard clock is
in a different spot, for one thing. I keep looking for it above the
radio, where it has been conveniently located for the past five years.
But now all of a sudden if I want to know what time it is -- if I need
to know whether I'm going to make it to The Dirt Company with minutes
to spare, or whether I should pull out the cell phone and plead
"traffic jam," right about now -- I've got to look below the radio and
one side, next to the steering wheel. That's a little disconcerting.
The levers that move the passenger seat up and down and forwards
backwards aren't where I expect them to be, either: I spent half the
ride to work yesterday morning canted backwards at a weird unnatural
angle, staring up at the ceiling. ("Hey!"
I said to David. "The sunroof
is gone!") Plus the dashboard is
round and puffy where it used to be sleek and concave, sleek and
concave where it used to be round and puffy ... there is no *panic
handle* on the inside passenger door for me to grip in white-knuckled
terror whenever David careens around a corner* ... and I now have
absolutely no idea how to turn on the overhead lights/adjust the bass
control/fiddle with the passenger side mirrors from the inside.
the other hand, we
have air conditioning now. That ALONE
is worth the price of licensing and registration, I'd say.
weirdest thing about
this car -- besides the fact that it still has a very strong *new car
smell,* even though it's not a new car: my father-in-law has been
driving it to the grocery store and the hardware store and the lawn
& garden store every Saturday morning since 1997 -- is how it
manages to be both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. I suppose
it's because it's another Subaru: a slightly
newer/fancier/better-smelling version of the Subaru we've been driving
around in for the past 5+ years.
has changed ... but everything
has. It's the same ... but it isn't. I know this car ... but I
like peeking inside your next-door neighbor's apartment.
Architecturally, their place may be identical to yours -- same layout,
same door and window placement, same icky pink kitchen appliances --
but their floors are hardwood instead of wall-to-wall, or their
windows are hung with blinds instead of curtains, or their icky-pink
kitchen appliances aren't sputtering and smoking and breaking down
every two and a half weeks. (Plus your neighbor has AIR
CONDITIONING, apparently, while *you* have been forced to make do
with a crappy six-inch
Duracraft oscillator, all these years.)
other words: it's
familiar ... but it isn't.
you. I'm not
complaining about the differences between the old Subaru and the "new"
Subaru. Neither is David. Neither one of us would be so foolish as to
look a gift car in the mouth, especially when our old car was
teetering on the verge of collapse and we had no idea how we were going
to replace it. David's dad suddenly deciding to pass his Outback down
to us (so HE can upgrade to a bigger/better/groovier new Forester)
couldn't have come at a better time. And neither one of us is afraid of
a learning curve, as long as the stuff we're 'learning' doesn't
involve catheters or handcuffs, that is. We'll get the hang of the new
car in no time, I'm sure.
It's not like
*I* am going to be doing much of the driving any time in the immediate
future. Perhaps later this year I'll finally break through the
dual barriers of fear and apathy and get my California Drivers License.
(Two out of three Tots are now licensed drivers. Next month
when I visit them in TicTac, they're going to be driving ME
to the mall. Do I really want to live with that sort of shame for the
rest of my life?) But in the meantime, my job as co-pilot is to sit
here in the passenger seat of the "new" Subaru ... smiling cutely,
digging maps out of the glove compartment, offering up helpful
commentary ("Are we there yet?")
and feeding mix tapes into the car stereo as we drive to the office in
I can FIND
the car stereo, that is.
* * * * * *
of new cars (and the people who own them), check out Daughter #1's very
hell out of a pony, doesn't it?
to throw a rock?