I Miss Car Flirting

He winks, then she smiles;
A coy look between strangers.
Then the light turned green.
………………………………………….

Recently, I took a business trip that was close enough to drive – about 4.5 hours away through some beautiful country. I much prefer driving to flying – air travel is only really worth it when you are in the mood for a friendly stranger grope.  (That shall be a future blog title, I think…)

Anyway, the car rental place delivered my rental car for the trip directly to work – a nice touch. When I picked up the keys at the front desk, I noticed they upgraded me to Premium class.  And then I noticed what they upgraded me to:  a Crown Victoria. I kid you not. How that was deemed an upgrade I do not know.  I’ll give you one guess as to the color of the car. Yes, appliance white.

This car had only 12,000 miles on it.  I do not believe it was because it was new. I believe it was because NO ONE WOULD RENT IT.  I think they upgraded me just so that someone, anyone, would drive the thing and knock the carbon out of the pistons (my dad says things like this…).  And since they delivered it, and thus I had no say in the make or model, here was their chance.  I could almost hear the echoes of “suckerrrr” as I approached the car.

If this was indeed a 2010 or 2011 model, Ford should be ashamed. The interior electronics were from the 90’s at best. My sister’s $12,000 Kia has more features than the space shuttle. This car had the computing power of the bathroom hand dryer at Wal-Mart.  No iPod jack. No auto tuning on the radio.  A sliding knob for temperature.  The front seat was a beige bench with a seat belt for someone to sit in the middle. If someone sat in this seat, our hips would NOT have touched (I have hips, so that’s saying something).  Granted the leather seats were “recliner like” and comfy, but honestly, I felt like I was sitting on my couch in the middle of a large refrigerator. Overall, it was just too unwieldy.

And soooo not cool.  I’m at the age where I don’t get a lot of “looks” when I’m driving. I remember when, much younger, I did a lot of innocent car flirting. You know, checking out the guy next to me at the stop light. Watching out for other singles in cars.  But marriage and then baby seats put an end to that (not to mention gray hair, age, pounds, etc…).  But every once in a while I would like to get noticed while tooling around in town.  It doesn’t happen, so ok, I’ll live with it.

On that trip, in my Maytag Crown Vic, everyone noticed me. I’m not kidding. The construction workers at the gas pump, the fast food clerk, the other hotel patrons… they all watched me extract myself from the car (those damn seats are slippery and deep), probably all asking the same questions – “I didn’t know anyone other than cab drivers and retired insurance salesmen drove Crown Vics… What’s that middle-aged lady doing? Wait, is she ok? Should I help her get out?”  That’s not the kind of attention I was seeking.

Next time, I will refuse the upgrade. From here on out it’s Chevy Cavaliers for me.  Either that, or I’m getting another Crown Vic, putting a scarf around my head ala Susan Sarandon, and heading out with the windows down, tunes up (I’ll have to dig up an old cassette mix tape), pretending I’m in Thelma and Louise… but with a much happier ending. Maybe then I’ll seem cool and get in some good car flirting.

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