Marianne

I leaned back in my chair at the dining room table. Blaise, the last of the children to finish eating, stood up and proudly, forcefully burped. My daughter Niki admonished him, “Blaise, what do you say when you burp?”

Grinning, the dimpled three-year-old patted his belly and ran into the living room to join his brothers and sisters watching the ‘Incredibles’.

I suggested to my daughter, “Let’s share a bottle of Redd apple ale for dessert.” After dividing a bottle between two wine glasses, I sat down and confided, “I’ve been wondering if I should trade in my car for a new one before its value drops.”

My conversation with Niki quickly faded from memory until a deer jumped in front of my 2013 Chevrolet Equinox while driving home from my sister’s, on June 22nd. Instantly, I knew my car had transitioned from a good trade-in, to a worthless piece of junk. Fixing it would cost more than it was worth. Fortunately, a fair settlement came quickly and without quibbling from the car insurance company.  

The accident had happened on a Friday night. By Sunday night I started shopping via computer. I knew I wanted to buy from a certain dealership and was pleased they had an easy to use website. My list of wants; used but a recent-year with low mileage, a high seat, hatch-back trunk, all-wheel drive, digital speed display and easy on gas.

I’m not a person who would buy a car merely for its color, but I really wanted one that was bright blue. Black cars are too hot when they sit in the sunshine. Dirt shows too quickly on white cars. These days if a car isn’t black, white or beige, it’s usually a bland variation of red, blue or green.

On the dealership’s second web page, I found a car with all the features I wanted…and it was a bright blue. I messaged the salesman, “I want to come in to test drive the car tomorrow.” Sure, I had a root canal scheduled for earlier that morning, but why let that stop me?

When I saw the car for the first time, I couldn’t believe how bright a blue it was. Looking at it is like having a shard of the sky poke you in the eye. It had one feature that I hadn’t looked for; a sunroof that opened and shut with the flick of a button. A computer in the dashboard dished out all the information a car owner needs. I told the salesman, “I’m buying this car.”

Last week Niki and I were enjoying a few quiet moments after our family meal on Tuesday evening. I ruefully confessed, “Remember how I had mentioned trading in my car two months ago? Having a new car is really nice, but I feel bad about getting it because I hit a deer.”

Niki sensibly comforted, “It couldn’t be helped. Tammie and I are glad you weren’t hurt. Just enjoy the new car.”

Through the years I have given names to my cars. Some names stuck and others just fell by the wayside. If you ask my children about the ‘Old Gray Mare’ and the ‘Yuppie Yacht’, they will instantly know which cars I mean. Lesser known are the ‘Queen Elizabeth’, (Niki’s first car) the ‘Tank’ (a huge van Arnie bought for Tami to drive) and the ‘Big Blue Ox’ (which was totaled when I hit the deer).

The name I’ve picked for my new car is ‘Marianne’, because of its color and motherly comforts. I had no idea if the name would stick until the salesman set-up my Bluetooth car-phone capabilities. Pressing a button on the steering wheel prompts a woman’s voice to say, “Give a command, or say, ‘help’.”

Feeling surprised and shocked, I answered, “Call Tammie”.

Marianne asked, “You want to call Tammie?” I told her yes and after the sound of the phone ringing, my daughter was on the other end of the line. Another press of a button ended the call.

Some people have a woman named ‘Siri’ inside their phones. Tammie and I named the voice in her phone, ‘Gwen’. I wonder if Gwen and Marianne are going to get along?

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