My husband likes cars. Okay, scratch that. My husband is OBSESSED with cars. He has been since I met him way back in 1980-something, and the passion has only grown as he has gotten older. A couple of years back, he was invited to a track day at VIR, a raceway about an hour or so from here. With one drive, he was even more hooked. Now, he watches Top Gear with religious fervor, subscribes to Motor Trend, and has entirely too many cars, at least in my opinion, parked in our yard, all in various states of functioning and repair.
Me, I’m not like that. I grew up in a family that drove to get places, not really caring how they looked or how long it took to get there. My parents love Hondas, so I love Hondas. They also drive their cars into the ground, pretty much ignoring dents and scratches as long as everything’s in working order. This is the reason why, when I bought a new car when I was pregnant a few years back and hit a deer, I wasn’t thinking I’d pay for a bunch of body work to fix the dents. The doors still opened, the car ran: what’s the big deal? My husband was AGHAST. He notices every little ding, every tiny scratch. If it wasn’t for him, I never would have noticed someone had stolen those little thingamajigs that are in the center of the wheel, decorated with an H, off one of my Hondas. I don’t even know what they’re called, so how would I miss them? I mean, come on.
Lately, though, when we’ve taken family trips. we have realized that my lovely little Acura, my Baby Car, had gotten too small for us. This was especially clear on the last beach trip when, once we had packed everything in, I could barely SEE my daughter in her car seat she was so surrounded by towels and groceries and bags. Okay, fine, I thought. I love my Acura, I’ll just get trade up to a bigger Acura. But then my husband said those three little words: “Let’s just look around.”
You can NEVER just look at a car with someone who lives and breathes automobiles. It’s impossible. To his credit, he did go to the Acura dealership with me, and tried to hold his tongue while we checked out cargo space and compared trunk size. Then, though, all casual, he suggested we go across the street to the Audi dealership. Also known as His Favorite Place Ever Where He Knows All the Salespeople By Name. Cut to me, an hour later, test driving a used Audi. The trunk is big, the cargo space huge. It’s bigger than what I am used to, but I can still park it easily and I don’t feel like I’m driving a tank. He kept saying, “It’s not up to me! Your decision!” and while I know it was killing him, I said I had to think about it. We walked out, back to my Acura. And then I turned and looked back at the car.
I hate it when he is right.
So yes, I have a new (or, new to me) car, just in time for my 40th birthday. It is my midlife crisis car, I have decided. At least I didn’t get plastic surgery or have an affair. (Although my passion for my iPhone is such that if it WAS a person, my marriage would be in trouble. I love it almost as much as Tim Riggins, and that is saying something). My husband, for his part, just keeps shrugging, telling everyone, “She decided she wanted it. It wasn’t me at all,” which is technically true. But we both know the real story, as much as we know that he will suddenly have a lot more interest in taking my car to the grocery store than he used to. Marriage. You gotta love it.
In other news, awhile back I mentioned that I was honored to be asked to sit on a judging panel for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I read the three finalists over my vacation, and today my thoughts, and those of the other judges, were posted online. You can check them out here. I have to say I really enjoyed being a part of this, and all three of the finalists were really good. I’m very curious to see how the public votes! Stay tuned….