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Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2005
Welcome back to Colonel Outfoxed Used Auto Sales.

Let’s just check our inventory, shall we?

‘03 Corolla (Beth’s car. Currently at the collision center, ‘cause she cracked it up yesterday in a spectacular 4 banger run in. Since this car is normally not on our lot, we’ll just call this a unit with issues. Crumpled front end issues.)

‘98 Expedition (Ally’s car. Currently in Beth’s hands. Nice ride, too, but it’s not on the lot either, right at the moment.)

‘92 Escort (Maggie’s car. Rarely on the lot, between school and work. Currently at the service station getting inspected, after a nervous run by yours truly to the DMV to get the tags updated. Sigh.)

‘94 Escort (Ben’s car. Always on the lot, since he’s been grounded from driving it for unpublishable reasons. See the “Never Have Kids” entry.)

‘97 F250 (My truck. Noble, unassailable. You’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead fingers. On the lot with head high.)

Soooo . .

With the wrecking of one of the fleet yesterday, this whole snowball effect of driving in this wildly spread out area, with people going in 5 different directions at once started to roll downhill and take out trees and chalets in its wake. Ally and I picked Beth up at the accident scene after her car had been towed off to its new home with others of like damage. And no, she wasn’t hurt beyond her pride and insurance rate, thanks for asking.

While pulling into our street, lo and behold here cometh Maggie in her car, with the very visible X on her inspection sticker (here in the Swamp, you get inspected once a year whether you like it or not). So I rolled down the window to inquire why since, you know, that’s just the sort of nosy fellow I am.

“What’s up with the bad inspection sticker, Maggie?”

“Oh, something about the brake lines. But I got it fixed, I really did. I just haven’t had it re-inspected yet. And oh by the way, my tags are expired too.”

“Well isn’t that nice. You toddle off now and have a wonderful afternoon.”

Understand, that’s not exactly what I had to say. But this is a family forum, and we do have our standards around here, right?

Now in the way things should work, this scenario ought to just about solve itself. Beth wrecks car, Dad has an extra one sitting in the driveway, should be just a matter of rolling out the spare, right?

Oh ho, no. I soon had a committee of three women in the living room giving voice to all sorts of options. And since the three of them probably hadn’t been in the same room for a month, there was the whole nurturing and mommy stuff going on.

Since Ben’s car, being the spare, is a sinister and oft-choking beast with a personality given to rumbling and farting at odd hours, no one (including Ben) wants to drive it. I dunno, it has an adequate number of tires (4) and a wheel to steer ‘em by. Seems like a deal to me.

Beth, however, drives a fair distance each day and needs a dependable ride. Maggie sticks to one 5 mile area. Ally? Well, she’s earned the right to have a luxury ride. That was the consensus.

Which is why Beth has the luxury ride right now, of course. And Ally has no ride at all. I don’t know what Maggie has. There’s cars from my inventory all over town being fondled by evil men in coveralls. See how well the committee of three hammered things out?

And tonight, we’ll re-confer for phase two of Operation Chinese fire drill. Right here in my driveway. Oh if you could have seen the swapping of keys yesterday, it was equal parts Keystone Cops and screeching admonition drama (“Don’t you scratch my car! Well, don’t you scratch my car!”).

As for me, I’m going out to sit in my truck for a while and think long about how awful the world of motor cars truly is, and make a few phone calls to the local horse breeder. Maybe he can set me up with a gently used Appaloosa, one with low mileage and a “Big girls shoot Nine-Ball!” bumper sticker on his ass.

Maggie always did want a horse.

All I want is a ride out of here.

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