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May 28, 2007

It's kind of a Southern thing

My friend Faith and I are on the phone, talking. She had just been in a fender-bender in her Honda, a car which is the same age as my Jeep.

"It's ok," she said. "I'm getting a new car soon anyway."

"Ooooh," I said. "Really? What kind?"

I live vicariously through other folks' new car experiences. I am so happy for other people getting new cars because it is not an experience I want to go through. A new car is too much responsibility, keeping it so clean and perfect, and anything that expensive makes me nervous. I like my big, metal, clunky Jeep with all it's pre-disasteredness. That vehicle has been through thefts (plural), a high-speed chase, two fender-benders without a scratch, one hailstorm and a tussle with a concrete divider and so it's now been pre-disastered, making it one of the safest cars on the road. (Do you see how my mind works?)

About six months ago my Jeep had some ailment or other and had to be taken in for another many dollars worth of repairs. I called Jennifer from the repair shop to chitchat while I waited. I told her I might get a new car, maybe one of those Toyota cruiser things. One day.

"Laurie, you might as well give up the act. You know that if -- IF -- you ever let go of that old Jeep you'll just get another Jeep. Probably a red one. The only difference will be that it will have air conditioning this time."

"What makes you say that?" I was kind of offended, am I so predictable?

"Well," said Jennifer, "you hug your car before getting into it."

"Lots of people hug their cars, right?"


"I see."

The truth is that I am in love with my old, battered Jeep and perhaps it is not healthy or sane ... but love is not always sensible, ok?

So anyway, back to Faith and her fenderbendering. She was telling me how she wasn't too concerned about the recent run of bad car luck with her old Honda since she was getting a new car eventually anyway.

"What kind of car?" I asked.

"A Prius, a hybrid," she said.

"Ooooh, that is so awesome! One of the main impediments to me marrying Al Gore is the fact that I won't give up my Jeep unless someone can convert it to run on cat poop or something," I was very excited. "Plus, you do most of the driving whenever we hang out so that's almost like I have a hybrid."

"Uh, okay," she said. "That Jeep impediment ... and you know, he's already married."

(One night at Stitch 'n Bitch I said something about marrying Al Gore and someone pointed out that he is already married. And I said, "Yeah but Tipper can't live FOREVER." and Sara said, "Oh, reeeeeeaaaaally, Laurie, do you care to tell us how she meets her end? And when exactly?" and everyone thought this was SO funny but me. I just hoped no one told the CIA because that would be bad for the Marry Al resume. You know?)

"I'm already recycling," I said, ticking off the ways I can earn points with Al. "And the lighbulb thing. Oh, and I got one of those re-usable bags at Trader Joe's."

"I keep meaning to buy one of those," said Faith.

"Well," I confessed, "I've only used it once so far, the day I bought it. I just keep forgetting it because I only go to TJ's on the way home from work and I never seem to have the bag with me, and on the weekends when I'm in closer proximity to the re-usable bag I always shop at Whole Foods so I can't use it there."

"Why not?" she asked. Perplexed.

"Uh, duh! Because it says 'Trader Joe's' on it!" I might have sounded exasperated. I mean really now.

"So?" asked Faith. "Why can't you use a Trader Joe's bag at Whole Foods? What's the problem?"

"That would be rude!" I said. "I just couldn't!"

"So let me get this straight," said Faith. "You're afraid of hurting the feelings of the grocery store?"

I paused. Of course when a person says it like that it seems crazy. But.... ya'll know. There are some lines I just cannot cross in my mind. It still seemed rude.

Finally I realized what the problem was.

"This must be a cultural issue," I told her. "It is a perfectly normal reaction, in my eyes. So the problem must be that you are not Southern. If you were Southern you'd understand. Bless your heart."

"Recycled" image, kind of stolen from the internet.

Posted by laurie at May 28, 2007 7:08 AM