Monday morning, I went to the gym and then I drove my sweaty self up to the Saab dealership, a place that, since inheriting Papa Sven, has become my home away from home.
“Hi, Bob,” I announced as I dropped my key on the desk and tried to look serious, a questionable feat seeing I was beyond dewy and wearing a pink plaid athletic skort. Even I know pink isn’t a color people take seriously.
“Weren’t you just here Tuesday?”
Last Tuesday I dropped Papa Sven off to have the stalling issue fixed and the loud creaky moan, the one that echoes whenever I turn the car on, resolved. After work, I went back to pick him up. I paid the $600 repair fee, got in the car and turned the key. Sure enough, he moaned. Then, the next day, when I went to get lunch, he stalled. And while all of this was problematic, I figured I’d wait to spit bullets. I mean, I was scheduled to go back in early September when the dealership gets that sunroof part I need, you know, the one that’ll allow me to close my sunroof all the way. But then, Saturday night at around midnight, as I steered Papa Sven down North Broad Street, my engine light went on. I don’t recall the rest of the drive because I was consumed by panicked sweats and cursing fits.
“Nice 300. Who pimped your ride?” my coworker asked Monday morning when she saw the loaner in my parking space.
“Big Daddy. Do you like the chrome wheels? How about the strawberry air freshener dangling off the mirror? I had to drive with all of the windows down to avoid barfing.”
“What is that thing?”
“A loaner, though I’m not sure who I’m specifically borrowing it from. Every preset station is rap.”
After lunch, I heard from the dealer. They finally diagnosed the creaky moan, thanks to the engine light being tripped. It had something to do with emissions and a pump. I asked if that part being broken would result in Papa Sven blowing up. Because I knew what was coming. Total repair cost: $700. Did I mention this doesn’t factor in the fee to repair the sunroof ($300), the trunk ($600) that neither opens nor closes on the first go and the as yet undiagnosed stalling glitch that left my mother stopped mid-left-turn across two lanes of head-on traffic? This on top of the $1,800 that’s been spent since March. That’s when I went into my dad’s office and relayed the news.
“I’ve been beyond reasonable with Papa Sven. And at this point, it doesn’t even make sense to fix him,” I reasoned.
“I agree. I’m pissed but I totally agree. So what do you want to do?”
“Well, I leave Thursday for Guatemala and I’ll be gone until Labor Day. Then you guys’ll be gone so I can take one of your cars. That’ll get me to mid-September.”
“What do you think you want?” my dad nervously asked.
I curled my lips in over my teeth and bit down to stop myself from blurting out my wish list.
“You know, don’t get mad at me but you’re kinda acting like your mother.”
“You mean your wife. But that taunting won’t hurt this time. Cause that woman’s on her fourth Benz and, to be honest, I admire her refusal to let you push her into another piece of shit Cutlass Sierra.”
“Have you thought about the Chevy Malibu or the new Hyundai Genesis?”
“No, but I have thought about putting you in the trunk of Papa Sven and pushing both of you off a high cliff.”
The thing is, I like certain cars. I might even go so far as to say I could marry one or two. This is the result of being Jewish, my mother’s daughter and an avid reader of Road & Track and Motor Trend and Car & Driver. That last part, by the way, is totally my dad’s fault so he really has only himself to blame. Anyway, read enough about the 911 Turbo Carbiolet, the way it grips the road and rips through turns, and you too will dream of owning one. If only a two-seater, rear-wheel drive racer that costs more than the purchase price of my condo made sense.
In the end, I struck a reasonable deal with my dad. Tomorrow morning, I will catch a plane for Guatemala and Belize and when I get back, tanned and relaxed from sunning on a sailboat for seven days straight, I’ll start tackling the decision I so desperately wanted to avoid. People, the reason I agreed to inherit Papa Sven was because I rank car shopping right up there with pap smears and root canals. Heck, I’d rather have both procedures done at the same time than have to hear a smarmy fuckwit quote me a lease number that translates into me funding his child’s college tuition.
So while I am away on vacation, snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef and dropping baited hooks off the stern, you’ll be car shopping for me. Yup. Bring it, bitches. Because I know you all have your opinions.