Saturday, March 11, 2017

Out with the Old...

When the employee bus drops me off at the airport, there are several routes I can take to get to work. My favorite is to walk through the parking garage. Here, I walk through the area where the lu
xury cars park. It’s fun to pick out my next car, and my favorite cars are usually the Mercedes.

Driving Mary for the last time
I’ve had a thing for Mercedes since I was in high school, when I loved to watch the TV show, Dallas. JR Ewing was my favorite character. He was so much that I could never be, so it was fun watching him connive others, drink too much bourbon, bed all the hot women, make money hand over fist and drive his luxury Mercedes, which back in the mid eighties, was really ‘the’ car people thought of when talking about luxury cars.

You can imagine my thrill when Mom bought a Mercedes! I couldn’t wait to ride in it, and it was perfect for her. She bought a small silver convertible that was not only fast, but looked oh, so sleek!

So I’m always walking through this airport garage, “No, no, I’d take that, yes, Oh, a Mercedes, I’ll definitely take that, but not that color, no, no, no...” picking out cars I’d like to drive home.

The last time I bought a car was twenty years ago. Yes, I said twenty...a two with a zero following closely behind. I was living in Maryland and was making good money running a Harley-Davidson dealership. I had a Toyota 4runner that I loved, and with that job, I needed a lot of space, as I did all of the shopping for the dealership, going at least once a week to the huge warehouse store for sodas and snacks for our vending machines, bathroom and cleaning supplies and from time to time hauling tons of food for various special functions in the dealership. I also enjoyed camping, so having the space for tents, coolers, shade structures, chairs and booze (you can’t expect me to camp out without libations!) was necessary.

Already loving my first 4Runner, it came natural to get another one. I loved that car. When I drove her, I became one with her. I could squeeze through openings that sometimes had even me impressed that I’d not scraped the sides. I could glide right into car wash tire pulleys without anyone to guide me in. I could feel when she needed a tuneup and knew when a tire was running a bit low. I named her Mary. She and I drove through New England and then across the entire country, after I got my job with Mother Airline and moved to California. She took me to Burning Man seven times, and camping more times than I could possibly count. She towed travel trailers, including my beautiful and beloved Argosy, with such ease that I’d forget I was towing anything. I never felt a need to replace her.

Until gas went to over five dollars a gallon in 2008, but even then, it was only because she was getting so expensive. Soon the prices came down again and we were back to our love affair.

She brought me back to my home in Texas a few years ago and she never complained about the heat, something she wasn’t used to. But she was getting old and quirky- the door often didn’t register that it had been opened, so the doors wouldn’t always lock automatically. She didn’t always beep when I armed or disarmed the alarm system. She was twenty years old with only 145,000 miles. Sadly, it was time for me to move on.

I so wanted the Mercedes that I’d been lusting after for over thirty years, but I’m still not in a financial position to be comfortable in making that kind of commitment, and even though I’ve been asking for one every Christmas, no one seems to be willing to buy one for me. I’m no JR Ewing and just the maintenance on one can be daunting.

JR Ewing's 80's Mercedes from TV's "Dallas"
So into the dealership I went, whining about the Texas heat and demanding ventilated seats to help keep my back dry and drove out with a new Hyundai Santa Fe. Not just a Santa Fe, but the top of the line Santa Fe, with the top of the line extended warranty. It may not be a Mercedes, but I can assure you it is a nicer car than the Mercedes enjoyed by Mr. Ewing! There are so many bells and whistles on this thing, there is surely a bell and whistle shortage.

I’ve yet to settle on a name for my new baby, and I’ve taken photos of her, making sure to include Mary, who sat there alongside, watching me. She was sad, yet still very proud. I’d joked to the salesman that I just may cry when I hand her over, and I was assured that I would not be the first to do so. I had a chat with Mary as I drove her to the dealership, telling her how much I had loved driving her, how thankful I was, how proud, how sad and, yes, I nearly, but not quite, cried. I thanked her and wished her well.

She was a great car for me and hopefully her next owner will treat her well and she can still be a great car. If you’re interested in Mary, she’s at the North Freeway Hyundai in Spring, TX. And if you buy a car from this really nice dealership, tell them Penguin Scott sent you and I’ll share the referral fee! (Ask for Jeff!)

My new ride with sad Mary in the background

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