My Senior Retiree Dilemma Continues
by Tom Damron
I'm just stating the facts, not to be bragging, but I bought a new car. My old one was eight years and aging faster than me and it had well over my own pre-set limit of one hundred thousand miles.
At my age, this will probably be my last new car purchase so I went, as they say, hog wild. I bought the Touring Edition, the Top of the Line so to speak. Just letting 'Touring Edition' roll from your tongue sounds exotic.
Believe me, it was a beauty sitting on the lot beckoning me to pick it over the other plain Jane models that surrounded it. I bit hard on its message and quickly pointed to it on the display lot, telling the salesperson, 'That beauty there. The solid black model."
I should have taken note of his quick broad smile and the excitement in his eyes along with the drool on his lips, but I was a patsy for that minivan. You can't fathom how carefully I drove the twenty-four miles home that day. The reason you wouldn't understand is that I couldn't decipher anything in the car.
Cars are now rolling computers with smart phone capabilities. I was deathly afraid to touch any of the bells, much less the whistles, that were on the dash. I gingerly parked it in the garage and patted the top when I left it for the night. Maybe my trepidation will ease over night and I'll be more comfortable with my new pal once I read the manual.
The next morning I felt that I had overblown the anxiety so I opened the garage door to gaze on the shiny black surface again to allay my nerves. I was looking at the grill and so help me, with the headlights and the small black screen at the top looking like eyes, I would swear that the car was leering at me as it was thinking, "I gotcha and now you know that I'm smarter than you so you will obey what I say."
My reaction was --"Yes, I concede that you're far smarter than I am, but don't expect me to obey your orders." I slammed the kitchen door so that it couldn't see me cringing in the corner as shivers ran through my entire body.
Finally calming myself down, I had three cups of extra strong Chicory coffee, stood by the door and steeled myself to face the challenge that sat smirking in the garage. I opened the door, pushed the garage door opened, looked to my right to avoid the leering grill and opened the door.
Nothing happened except one of the bells was ringing. I slid into the plush leather seat, adjusted the rear view mirror, started the engine, put the car in reverse and started to back out.
The lady in the dash yelled at me and chastised me for straining my neck instead of looking at the rear-view picture on the screen from the video camera in the back on the car. I turned my head back and saw the driveway and the street behind me. Whoa! Maybe, just maybe, I'll obey her with ideas such as this one.
I slowly backed down the drive, closed the garage door behind me, looked at the screen and hit the brakes hard. Someone had installed railroad crossing gates at the end of my driveway!
I looked back toward the screen and saw the gates open after a car passed behind me. Hey, I thought, what an idea! That'll work as long as I don't go around the gates.
I drove slowly back to the dealership and found my salesperson and exclaimed, "I'm not smart enough to drive that car there, pointing to the beauty once more. He had me sit at a table; he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Let's go through the system once more. Did you read the manual?"
"Yes, but I still don't understand how to set the garage door opener. I have to carry this one," and I pulled my punch opener out and put it on the table.
He nodded and told me, "You need to get a ladder, climb up to your door motor, push the little magic button, go back to the car and push the car button and wait for the motor to reset. You may see lights flash, hear whirring, and some other strange noises, but it will reset and you'll be set to go." I stared at him and said, "I need to climb the ladder and push a button, that's all?" He merely nodded. His answer was, "Come on back anytime you get hung up on any other problems. We're here to help."
On the way back, I took the Toll Road to test the cruise control. I was on 70 when I came up behind a truck doing around 55. I saw a car in my new 'Blind Spot mirror' and I prepared to hit the brake, but lo and behold, the car slowed down by itself and set the speed to remain three car lengths behind the truck. Boy, will this keep the wife from yelling at me when I approach too fast. My ears will appreciate this feature.
I've now been in the car for three days and let me say that we've become friends, close friends, closer than you can imagine. It even blows cool air at my butt in the seat and not just in my face.
Would you ever have believed that a once inanimate object like a new car could bring something new and always exciting into our lives? I wave off the idea that it's smarter than me and really don't care anymore. What matters is that we are compatible and it gives me a really smooth glide down the highway as I smile at the happy years ahead for us.
But, I still read the manual once a week just to keep ahead of its continual leering at me knowing I'll never be as smart as it.