New Car Fever (or “Why I’m Grumpy”)


Look over there… it’s SO SHINY.  It’s NEW.  It has a CD player, and everything in it is clean and stain-free.  It’s got that new smell.  More importantly than the new-ness of the smell, it doesn’t carry the odour of dirt and wet dog and mysterious greyish crumbs in between the cushions.  It is so much better, cooler, NEWER than what I have now.  Did I mention how shiny it is? 

The van is fast-approaching its retirement.  Soon, it will be set out to pasture, left to frolic in a wide open packed dirt retired-car lot.  Maybe it will meet a nice SUV or construction van(you know the ones… no back windows, rather like what you’d expect the FBI to be camped out in… but less intense and not black), a solid but also senior vehicle it can do various elderly vehicle things with.  Such as…

… Having the same turning radius as the titanic…

… randomly flashing mysterious dash-lights…

… juddering and making ominous rumbling noises when they reach highway speeds…

… Only playing music through one speaker…

… Varying which speaker receives music…

… Locking all but one door…

… Unlocking all but one door…

… Refusing to let the passenger-side window go down when it is too hot out…

Or, perhaps it will gain a new lease on life, with a new owner, possibly someone in construction or home-repair.  I think the van would look quite dashing with an extendable ladder strapped to the roof.  I can see it now, rumbling down the highway on loose shocks, loaded with electrician’s tools, a grouchy electrician sitting in the front seat, coffee cup wedged into the cup-holder, banging occasionally on the dash with the hopes of hearing the news on his side of the vehicle as well as on the rear passenger side.  Then again, if he’s an electrician, he might already have fixed that particular issue. 

The more I look for a new vehicle to replace the van, the less I like new-vehicle shopping.  I think that I might be the exception, rather than the rule– going with me to do test-drives has nearly convinced my dad that he needs a new car to replace his current fully-functional and not-too-old civic. 

“New Car Fever” he says, nodding sagely and drooling over the sooped up whatever-it-is next to the base-model hatchback whose trunk I’m staring into.

I am wondering whether one of the symptoms of this so-called fever is a huge throbbing headache.  If so, I might indeed have New Car Fever.  The first place we stopped into was ok… lots of shiny new cars, and if I avoid looking at the price, I can get into the spirit of things. 

Cupholders that will hold a wide variety of sizes of cup upright.  OOOOH.  Shiny!

Everything’s so clean and shiny and sparkly.  It’s got little storage compartments and a nice looking control panel.  It comes in Saphire Blue, or Celestial Blue, or Velocity Red.  OOOOH!

I’m pretty knowledgeable about cars (Cue laugh-track).  I can stand beside the sales-associate, and ask deep and probing questions like, “Do you, like, have a recent grad discount?”

And, “Does it come in a blue-er blue? Like… more bright?”

However, by the time we’d left the first place, I could feel the headache throbbing in my forehead.  At the second place, I critiqued all the vehicles viciously.  Too blah, too ugly, too expensive, too uncomfortable, too weird looking, too much like a van.

Apathy set in, and my vocabulary vanished.  I was clearly deep in the throes of new-car-fever.  We arrived at the next dealership, and I could barely force myself to sit in their hatchback, open the trunk, or look at the specs.  When my dad pointed out that their van was very nice, my only response was: Van. 

“… but it’s quite nice, and smaller than what you’re driving now…”

“Van.”

“But you wouldn’t have any issues fitting Gwynn in-“

“VAN.  VAN.

For emphasis, I fought through my new-car-fever-induced apathy long enough to pull open a sliding door and then glare accusingly at my father.  VANS have sliding doors.  That is one of the few things I’m sure of in this new-car-fever-wrought journey.  I have never driven anything but a van.  I am 23 years old, and I am tired of driving the vehicle of choice for soccer-moms (yes, it is practical for that, I know! Go forth, soccer moms, and get-ye a van!) and people who have more than three children.  All I need is a non-van vehicle that will fit my dog.  And some other people, hopefully, at the same time as the dog is in the vehicle.

It’s strange – my dad’s new-car-fever is making him want to buy a car.  His illness is making him enthusiastic and strangely lustful over shiny inanimate objects.  My illness, meanwhile, is making me monosyllabic, and giving me the urge to hold onto the van until it literally falls apart on the highway.  I also considered just adapting to walking and biking everywhere, or buying enough aussie-doodles to make myself a sled-team.  Maybe we’ve got different strains of the disease, but both of them have some interesting delusions.

So, as new car fever makes me more surly and short-tempered, I think I’ve found a cure.  My mechanic is, as we speak, trolling the used-car-auctions for a hatchback for me. 

He figured out pretty quickly that my new-car-fever has severely depleted my stores of enthusiasm for anything automotive.  He’s looking for non-white, non-beige hatchbacks (and not-a-van) with cloth seats and A/C, under 5 years old.  As soon as I passed the responsibility on to him, I felt the fever break.  In fact, when he sent me some photos of a red Toyota Matrix yesterday, it piqued my interest.  I looked at it, drooled a bit, and thought, “oooh.  It’s newer than the van, it’s shinier than the van.  It’s RED, and CUTE, and NEW.  OOOOOOH”

I might have caught the other strain of New Car Fever.  At least it doesn’t bring on headaches.

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9 Comments

  1. SandySays1

     /  March 29, 2011

    Yep, sometime different is just enough!

  2. TheIdiotSpeaketh

     /  March 29, 2011

    This made me tear up and miss my old car…. ha ha……. You got the main thing of a new vehicle nailed on the head! Cup holders!! Our newest vehicle came with 127 cup holders! Talk about heaven! 🙂

    • I’m looking forward to that feeling – missing my old elderly van because it is no longer in my life. When I feel sad that I can’t fit a queen mattress and boxspring, and dresser and many boxes of my things into one car-load, I think I’ll find solace in the many effective cupholders and better gas-mileage of the mystery-hatchback future-me owns. If I get particularly sad, I’ll just drive out to somewhere with slightly below-average width parking spaces and remind myself of how awesome a tiny turning-radius and generally smaller car is.

  3. Yes, our van, has multiple cup holders and oh, so nice…see I always had a Toyota Celica (hatchback and regular trunk styles and before that a VW) so I was beggin my husband for a Honda Oddysey after our second child. He had a Nissan Maxima 4 door something in a champagne color (for his work) and I was sick of driving that old person car…and trying to get the kids out of the back seat.

    Funny, how we just want something different than what we always had. I never thought I’d ever, ever, want a van…but I love this mommy car! The steering is awesome and YES nothing beats a new car smell. I love the ROOM for all the sports stuff and camping trips we take. My other cars were so cramped.

    Sandi
    http://www.ahhsome.wordpress.com

    • My parents have an oddysey, and it is immensely better (better turning radius, better driving… everything!) than my van (though it does have the unfair advantage of youth as well). I agree, vans are SO great for camping and big car trips, but I figure, for camping and such, I’ll get a roof rack and learn to cull my packing a bit. Initially, I considered replacing my big van with a slightly less big SUV (or Cute-UTE), but couldn’t validate the much higher cost (and poorer fuel efficiency) based on how many times a year I go camping and to other things requiring maximum space.

  4. I feel like asking if a car comes in blue-er is a valid question. If you’re going to get a new car, you deserve as much blue as you would like.

    Very funny. It definitely entertained me more than the work I should be doing.

    • I think that my favourite part of going into the car dealerships was the look on the employees faces when they realised that the man drooling over the high-priced cars was only the father of the potential buyer. And that the potential buyer looked kind of depressed every time she caught sight of the price-tag, while asking the vaguely mysterious question (to my dad) of “Do you think he’ll fit back there?”
      I think I left a few dealerships with employees questioning just how fat the person I wanted to drive around must be.

  5. The man drooling over the high-priced cars was only the father of the potential buyer
    ——————-
    mathewpotter

    • He still hasn’t test-driven my car, for fear of finding himself unable to cope with not having a new car 😛

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