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My new car, my 2009 Honda Fit, is the cutest car on the road today.  I still feel like the luckiest girl on earth because I got to choose my next car, and I didn’t even have to wait for my old car to die.  To top it all off, Mr. Apron let me use our new home buyer refund as adown-payment, and all I had to do was give him my old car.  So my car pretty much rocks.  Last week at rehearsal, we were all sauntering out of the Unitarian church (where all great theatre groups are made), and one of my fellow actors remarked, quite spontaneously, “Whose awesome little car is that?”  and I got to reply, “Mine!”  I love my little car.

My Fit is my 3rd car.  My first was a 1987 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, and yes it was my grandmother’s car, why do you ask?  It was powder blue with matching crushed velvet seats.  The front bench seat did not split, so when I scooted my driving position all the way up, my front passenger(s) ended up with their knees in their armpits.  Yes, all my friends are tall, and teased me mercilessly.  I loved my car.  However, when at long last I received my mother’s cast-off 2001 PT Cruiser upon graduating college, and it was still a relatively new car, I jumped at the opportunity for such modern conveniences as leather seats, remote locking and unlocking, cup-holders, junk bins, defrosters, fog-lights, intermittent windshield wipers, four functioning doors and four functioning windows (the doors and windows on the Cad had grown, um, temperamental in their old age, and, by the time we donated the Boat to Muscular Dystrophy or the Shriner’s, only 2 doors and 2 windows were functioning).  I loved the fact that everything worked, and I didn’t have to worry about the cracking upholstery, the alternator, the why-won’t-you-unlock gas tank, and other annoyances.  I was sad to see my first car go, but oh-so-happy to upgrade. 

Yet again, I appreciate all the new gadgetry they’re cramming into modern cars.  The poor PT Cruiser (which my mechanic calls PT Loser, because he’s compassionate) is looking a little like it’s headed towards its autumn years.  It’s now been in 2 “incidents” involving other cars, leaving it with a cheese-grater mark on the front bumper, and a gouge in the rear quarter panel.  The seats aren’t as accommodating as they once were, and it’s developed some idiosyncracies having nothing to do with the recall notices.  We’ve lived through a dead battery, shocks, struts, brakes, fuses, a new radio, scratches to the headliner, and fading paint.  Poor old girl.  That’s why Mr. Apron got it for the bargain price of whatever AAA charged to transfer the title.  And, given the depreciation of Chryslers, it was almost worth exactly that.

In 8 years, they’ve definitely upgraded, even in economy cars.  I miss the leather seats, but I have a leather-wrapped steering wheel.  I have a mp3 jack in the glove box for hooking up the ipod which my parents bought for us as a car accessory.  No kidding.  My father even asked if black or white would match the interior better.  The radio controls mimic the controls of an ipod, so I can scroll through my ipod’s playlists from my dashboard.  It’s truly the coolest thing I didn’t need in my car.  My car calculates its average fuel economy (it’s funny; the Cad did the same thing, but I guess luxury in 1987 has arrived in today’s econobox), and has 10 cup holders, two for each human being.  So we can double-fist our frappaccinos.  I have magic folding rear seats, which not only flip down to make a flat loading bed, but also flip up, to create a deep cavernous backseat perfect for bicycles, houseplants, or the Dog.  Other technical advances I’m discovering as I go along.  By this I mean the idiot lights. 

A few weeks ago, a new icon lit up as I motored to work on the first cold day of the year.  I panicked, and read through the owner’s manual at stop lights.  No, I didn’t have time to pull over; I don’t allow for broken down new cars in calculating my commuting time.  I finally located the icon, a circle shape, with an exclamation line in the middle, and a squiggly line at the bottom — low tire pressure.  Which is another way of saying, watch out, lady, you’ve got a flat.  Now I did pull over, I inspected each tire, saw no flat, and went to work.  I pulled into our regular repair shop on the way home from work, and asked Jack to look at my tires. 

Jack is Chinese, and presumably speaks English, but has never been heard to speak loud enough to be understood.  I pieced together something from his mumblings:

“Jack my tire pressure’s low!  My tire pressure light lit up!”

“Up?  You mean down” (jokes don’t go so well when you can’t hear them)

“Huh?  Sure.  Down.  Can you take a look?”

“Yeah, happens every year…cold day…everybody in here…stupid lights.”

Turns out, every year on the first cold day, all the modern cars pull into the stop with panicking women.  The air hasn’t gone anywhere, it just is, um, smaller because of the temperature, which makes the tire pressure lower, and all the idiot lights go on.  Jack put another 2psi in each tire, I thanked him, and went home. 

This week, as Mr. Apron moved my car from the street to the driveway, he noticed the same idiot light emblazoned in orange on my dashboard.  He told me about it, and I figured, as the entire country has entered a cold snap, that it was just the air pressure giving a false low reading again.  Finally today, on a whim, I pulled into the repair shop on the way home from work, and met Jack as he was moving a car from the garage.  Telling him my light was on again, he fetched the air hose and began to top off my tires. 

“See?  You get a new car, you in here more often!”

I heard that.  He moved around from the left front, to the right front, to the right rear, and finally to the left rear. 

“Oh, you need a repair.  Your tire need a repair.”

“What?  I need to get it fixed?”

“No, you fine.  Your tire.”

Huh?  I rolled back 18 inches, as he guided me, and Jack showed me a nail, sunk completely into the tread.  We, of course, blamed it on Mr. Apron, as he was the one driving when the light came back on.  Jack pulled the nail out, lying on the frigid tarmac, and stuffed some gunk in the hole.  He filled it up, and $12 later, I was on my way home. 

I had it all chalked up to the modern car, its idiot lights, and modern car makers’ disregard for Boyle’s Law.  Turns out it actually picked up the nail in my tire before it went flat, saving me a tire change in some unsavory neighborhood at 15F.  That makes me the idiot, I guess, for ignoring it!  Bravo, little car.  Bravo.  Have I mentioned how much I love my car?

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