I bought a car this week. Beaven and I have totally different approaches to this process. He goes into a flurry of internet searches, magazine reading and tire kicking. He wants to know the mileage we can expect, whether it has four-wheel drive (so he can drive around in the ice and show off that he has four-wheel drive instead of staying inside where he belongs); he wants to know who owned the car before and what kind of oil it requires. By the time we get to the car lot he knows more about the car he’s picked out than the salesman does. And all I care about is the color. I want a red car.
I’ve never thought it was particularly smart to drive a car that was the same color as concrete. It just seems like if you blend in with the road someone, at some time, will eventually try to drive on you. This is why I always prefer a red car. Certainly not a tan or gray one. My track record is mixed. Sometimes I get my red car, sometimes not.
My first car was a 1965 red Volkswagon and I loved it. But as soon as the first baby arrived we traded it in for a family car. It was just as well since the sun had by then faded it to more of a tomato/orangey color than red. But it was a good car for my single years.
I went through a series of station wagons and sedans before I would have another chance for a red car again. And by that time I wanted not only a red car but a convertible. I had reached the season in my life where I felt the need for change. When I announced my requirement for a convertible Beaven gave me ten good reasons why I didn’t want one. I was about to become a grandmother at this point and I think he wanted me to get a sensible Grandmotherly car. I did not want to be sensible.
“I just need to get this out of my system,” I said. That’s when he hit upon the most inventive idea I think he’s ever had. He suggested I rent a convertible for a week and see how I felt then. So, I did exactly that. I rented a red Mustang convertible for a week.
My whole personality changed when I was driving that car. I drove faster. I ran yellow lights, something I never did in my sturdy little compact. “Get out of my way. Can’t you see I’m driving a hot car?” People looked differently at me when I was behind its wheel. I swear men would smile at me in that car. And I felt differently about myself. I had more confidence. I felt prettier. I WAS prettier.
This was a little hard to do, since I was sweating like a pig. It was June and the temperature was already in the hundreds. Not only did the sun beat down on me with vengeance; the air-conditioning flowed uselessly into the sky above me. I turned all the vents directly toward me and hovered close during stoplights but I was constantly soaked with perspiration. Yes, I wore sunglasses; the glare was blinding. My hair had that windblown look. It was also filthy from the road pollution. And friends with long hair were blinded by their own hair anytime I drove over 10 miles an hour. We generally drove in silence because we couldn’t hear each other over the road din. After getting the radio loud enough to hear while driving, we would get blasted anytime the car stopped. Once, it started raining while I was on the freeway. I had to find an exit and put the top up. Every stop at the grocery store or post office required putting the top up. God, I loved driving that car!
Beaven thought I would get it out of my system after the week. I didn’t. But I knew better than to fight it. We bought the Grannycar- the sensible sedan with all the options he suggested. But there were two options that I insisted on. Only two: “It has to be red. And I want a sun roof.”
Women that age have the capacity for a mysterious festival of emotions that leave their men in a state of constant fear. When we found out a sun roof wasn’t an option on that model Beaven took it to a custom shop to have one made for my car. After all the effort he went to I figured I needed to accept the Grannywagon and keep my mouth shut.
I still pined for the convertible. But I could open the sunroof for a while and that would usually settle me down. After the wind blew a few papers out onto the freeway and got a good cover of dust on everything and the sun beat in my eyes, I was usually ready to close the roof. The urged passed.
So, when we went car shopping last week Beaven knew all of this and we managed to find the car he wanted for me and, Thank You Jesus, it was red.
Now all we had to do was please the grandchildren. And guess what was the only thing they cared about? They didn’t give a hoot about the color. They just wanted to make sure the iPod cord would reach from the plug in the dashboard into the back seat.
We don’t really ask for much around here. Thank you God.