THE SONIC BOOMER
When the people at the car repair place told me that fixing my air conditioner would cost $6,000, I decided I’d rather put that money toward a new car. Who wouldn’t?
So, I drove over to the dealership and said, “I want a cheap, used car that is just like this car, except with air conditioning — and it would be nice if it had a few cup holders, because the ones I have now have been cobbled together using two Slurpee cups and some duct tape.”
The salesman went to his computer and pulled up a photo of the exact thing I wanted — and for $5,000 less than I’d budgeted!
“I’ll take it,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you like to maybe drive it around the block first?”
“Oh, OK.” Reverse… drive… park. “I’ll take it.”
I filled out the paperwork, handed him some cash and drove home. The car was perfect. It was made for me. It even had the hands-free phone and the Sirius radio, which was good because, the very next morning, I wanted to head to Wisconsin to check on my mom.
I could hardly wait to get into it. Even the upholstery was perfect. I filled it with gas and carefully washed a bug from the windshield. Then, off I went.
Oh, man, what a ride. The wipers worked; the seals didn’t leak; it was quiet as could be. I tuned the radio to a countdown of top oldies and cruised dreamily toward the north.
Just outside Atlanta, there was a major slowdown on I-75, and I didn’t even care. The countdown was up to No. 49 — the music was getting really good. After about a half hour, the traffic started to pick up again, and I accelerated to 55. That’s when I noticed the car ahead of me was stopped. No brake lights, no warning, just — for some ungodly reason — stopped.
I slammed on my brakes and veered to the right, but hit her passenger side bumper anyway. I watched in horror as my beautiful, two-day-old hood crumpled toward me, its upper corner cracking the windshield. Glass and plastic shattered. The air bags deployed, forcing my left hand into something sharp. The car came to a crooked stop, really ticking off the drivers behind me who had just finally gotten going again.
I asked myself if I was hurt (“You are fine. Get out of the car.”), and managed to get my door open enough to squeeze out. I checked on the people ahead of me (also fine) and then called 911.
The police, ambulance and tow truck were there in minutes, probably because they were still in the area from before, and soon they were hauling away my beautiful, perfect, brand new (to me) car, while I stood on the side with my suitcase, trying not to cry.
Tomorrow, I will go to the tow yard and say goodbye, then I will rent a car to go see mom, then I will begin the search for another car which — I don’t care what people say — will never, ever, ever be as good as that car. May it rest in peace.