Car Talk

carMy new car and I are not on speaking terms.

Days will pass without a word between us and even those sparse conversations come tinged with anger.

It is like we no longer speak the same language.

We had this problem from the very beginning – on the ride home from the dealership.

I am in the habit of resting my laptop on the passenger seat. She mistook the weight of it for a child and expressed her displeasure by flashing the seat-belt indicator.  A simple misunderstanding.

I tried to explain.

The dealership led to believe my new car understood English. In the showroom, the sales people encouraged me to use the voice command system to activate various functions and I was very impressed.  They also demonstrated how through the same interface, the car could speak to me. Yet here we were less than a mile down the road, arguing about my laptop.

I spoke loudly, enunciating each syllable like most English speakers are often forced to do with foreigners.

LAP-TOP!” I repeated. But to no avail, she refused to respond and kept rudely flashing the seat-belt indicator.

As many technical people know, INDICATOR is the native language of almost all common devices, including automobiles, and I resented her reverting to such a devilishly cryptic language, so I responded with the human equivalent of INDICATOR. I flipped her the bird.

She went ballistic, screaming at me with buzzers and alarms.

So I immediately swung the car around and headed right back to the dealership to ask them to mediate. Let me tell you, that is a mistake.

The service people were polite to the point of condescending but they refused listen to a word I said. Instead they took her side, counseling me to cave in to her demands by either moving my laptop or buckling the seat-belt.

Not an auspicious beginning.

By the end of the week, she was at it again.

This time she lit an orange light on the right side of the fuel gauge. I knew we were low on gas.  I tried to tell her we were well within range of the Kwiki-Mart but she just sulked and continued to give me the blaze orange stink eye.

Then again the beeping and screaming.

After we filled up, I got the silent treatment.

That was the final straw.

I can’t take this abuse any more.  It ranges from rude gestures to screaming and to be perfectly honest, it’s been years since I understood a car or a car understood me.

The older cars had so much more to say.

When they did not feel well, they told you about it with coughs and shudders. If their joints ached, you could hear them creak. If their timing was bad or a tire was out of alignment, they complained in a rich and colorful language that spoke to every one of your senses.

Now all I get is buzzing, screaming, flashes of INDICATOR and polite but condescending service people.

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