Whenever I pick up my car from the dealership, I always feel a small twinge of guilt. Like, “there’s my car, all lonely and sad near the back of this gigantic parking lot”. And I get in and it always smells kind of funny, and looks kind of dirty, and the seat never feels like it’s in the right place. I imagine some sweaty, half-drunk mechanic leeching his filth all over my dashboard while eating a baloney sandwich and popcorn. Leaving the space, the vehicle always seems to move of its own volition, and it is with great trepidation, hoping for the best and yet fearing the worst, that I pull out onto the open road. Always, once underway, I begin to recall the immense pleasure derived from driving a standard, and i breathe a sigh of relief, letting the car rev high and sometimes even rolling down the windows.

Today, although all other incarnations of the dealer-pick-up-routine perfectly matched those described above, was not a windows-down day. It was rainy, I was tired, and for once I felt confident that my problem had truly been solved. Somehow, I felt that the passing of the warrantee had brought us closer together, that this was the REAL START of our life as woman and car. The drive was smooth coming out of the lot, and she responded well to my rapid shifting. Delight! But my heart sank when, while waiting at the stop light by the Echo Bridge Cafe, the Focus gave that familiar shudder at idle that caused me to bring her to the dealer in the first place.

my federal tax return is being mailed out on May 6. Joy and merriment abound.

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