Note: This column appears in the 12/10 issue of The Glendale Star and the 12/11 issue of the Peoria Times
When I lived back east I drove a pick-up truck and appeared, on the surface –- with my facial hair and, ya’ know, pick-up truck -– like a man who knew a thing or two about motor vehicles. But that was a front that was easily exposed when anyone asked me how many cylinders the truck had, to which I would reply: “many.”
So when I moved here to Arizona I wanted something simple and cheap and fuel-efficient that would get me to work and occasionally to Old Navy. I settled on a Subaru Impreza, and so for the last few years, on the road, I have appeared as what I truly am: a vegetarian man who drives a small car and listens to soft British rock. The good news? Nobody asks me about cylinders anymore.
(It should also be mentioned that the irony of me being the only person in Arizona that doesn't drive a truck is not lost on me.)
Things were moving along fine until I recently noticed what appeared to be some paint splattered on the passenger side of the car. I took the car to get washed but the paint remained. So I took it to the detail shop of the car wash and had them look at it. They could not get it off. Also, it wasn’t paint. It was stucco.
Now my car has the same exterior finish as my house. I do not know how this happened, but I imagine that it occurred while I was driving through one of the 26 construction zones I pass through on a daily basis. Believe me that if I owned this car there’d be a better chance of me stuccoing the rest of it than getting what’s on there removed. Because I don’t care. But the car is leased.
Which leads me to another issue. When I leased the car I managed a 12,000 miles-per-year agreement. They had originally offered me 10,000 miles annually, and so I walked out of there feeling like a true negotiating genius. Little did I know at the time that my job was 80 miles from my house. So now with one year remaining, I will be over the mileage like, tomorrow.
Then the other day I got a letter that began as such: We would like to thank you for selecting a 2005-2008 Subaru Forester or 2005-2007 Impreza with a 2.5 Liter engine (non-Turbo). So sincere! But it turns out my engine is not turbo, which was disappointing, though not shocking.
The letter goes on to explain that I need to take my car in for service immediately because the one-way fuel valve in my vehicle’s fuel tank is faulty and may damage my catalytic converter. Also, Merry Christmas.
So now I am driving a small car that is caked in stucco and that is already over the allotted mileage and that has a catalytic converter (?) that could spontaneously combust at any moment.
I realize only now that I took my truck for granted. Sure, I had to fill it with gas every six hours and it was so out of alignment that when I took my hands off the wheel I did donuts. But I miss being perceived as a man. I mean, if I had a truck with a ton of miles on it that was splattered with foreign substances, John Mellencamp would be signing about me. And trucks don’t even have catalytic converters.
See? If I drove a truck you would have believed that. Sigh.