The Way to a Writer’s Heart

The New Car

I have been driving the new car for a month, and am happy to report that I have finally mastered the controls for the windshield wipers. No longer am I confusing the instrument for a gear shift, nor blinded by the panic of a windshield unexpectedly sprayed with liquid and obscured by large, rapidly waving sticks.

The controls on the radio, on the other hand, are still defeating me.

I appreciate that with any new car there is a familiarization process. Usually it’s preceded by a “honeymoon” period where the car is all exciting new smells and new love with shiny parts. There’s also anxiety over protecting it from getting dirty or blemished.  I have the anxiety parts, but, I’m still holding my breath for the exciting part of the honeymoon. Which probably explains my purpling face.

While I am pleased with the pep in the engine, and I’ve found the hatchback pretty handy, and the CD player has some nifty new accessories, I admit, I have not been completely beguiled by this unknown Korean.

In part, I’m having trouble moving on. Like when any long-term relationship ends, there are the poignant reminders of the good times and the things you loved. I liked being a member of the Saturn Secret Society, and now, when I see my fellow club members on the road, they no longer know me, or offer me the secret handshake. When I see a Saturn of my year or color, and I feel that pang of longing and the shame of my betrayal all over again. You never really forget your first.

I miss the key fob that locked the doors. My new car has fully manual everything, and I’m in the painful period of developing new habits. As my button mashing muscles start to atrophy, I’ve had to re-discover my lock switching skills. Plus, there’s now no light which stays on in the garage for a few minutes after I lock the car.

These are small complaints in the general scheme of things, and I remind myself every second that I am very fortunate to have a long term solution lined up instead of a simple rebound relationship.

However, things are looking up.

Just this week, I got the title paperwork from the car dealer. From those documents, I learned that my new friend sat on the lot, unloved and forgotten, for seven years. This feisty car, which is eager to run and play, and just wanted to run free on the highways and byways of the world had gone unnoticed and unwanted while all the flashier cars got adopted and taken home to new families. My sister pointed out that we had picked the really good, well-behaved, but overlooked doggie at the shelter who only wants a forever home, and has watched everyone pick the puppies or the prettier animals. My sister proclaimed that now we know the true story, the car needs a name. She suggested we christen it “Spot.”

I’m not taken with the name Spot. But, casting the car in the role of long-suffering underdog, who just needed a friend? That was all it took to win my heart. Truly, the best way to a writer’s heart is a good story. I think the honeymoon has finally begun.