Kit was the Coolest

It is time for another guest entry here at Bag Stranded. This one is brought to you by Dave Baker. When he is not spending his time reading and re-reading my blog, he tends to dabble in his own blogging. If you don't mind slightly more vulgar fare, check him out at The Man Diary or his political punditry at Bakery Fresh Politics. Remember, I always love guest submissions as they allow me the much needed time to reorganize my fantasy baseball team.

The one where Dave gets jealous of Mr. Hasselhoff and his fancy talking car
by Dave Baker

My friends really need to stop buying trendy cars. I’m giving too many innocent people the finger.

I flipped an elderly woman off the other day. But to be fair, she was driving that silver Toyota Tacoma like a speed-addled 15-year-old. Still, it’s not something I’m incredibly proud of. I didn’t go home and beam while I wrote about it in my diary before I went to bed. That sort of thing just happens.

Before, when my friends were too poor to afford a newer car, I could be about 99 percent sure the person driving toward me in the ’83 Subaru Brat — the one with the primer-gray-and-matte-black-spray-paint exterior, stolen fast food banner flapping out the window and smoke billowing out of the chunk of metal that once could have been called the engine — was actually one of my friends. No one else would dare drive with .38 Special stickers covering much the passenger’s side of the windshield.

Now, those distinctive automotive stylings have turned into a slick black ant marching lockstep with the other slick black ants. “But mine has 15 chrome screws on the hood scoop, when most others have 13.” I can’t ascertain that information at 45 miles per hour, while texting and digging for the Spin Doctors CD that just fell between the seats. I have to make a split-second decision whether to make some type of high-speed, obscene gesture, or let them escape unscathed. And that’s almost unthinkable. I hate missing an opportunity to physically express the utter hate and discontent I have for the people I call friends. If I could insult them in a more thorough manner as they drove by, I would do it. Yo Momma jokes just aren’t as effective in a drive-by scenario.

But I’m no better than they are. In my search for a reliable car with low miles and an appetite for gas like the Olsen Twins’ appetites for … well … anything edible, I purchased one of the most popular cars on the road. Who would have thought so many people were also looking for a reliable car that gets good gas mileage? Weird.

The truth is, I can’t spit without hitting the windshield of a white, 2005 Nissan Sentra. I bought the Starbucks of the automobile world. If you’ll allow, I’d like to adapt (read: butcher) a Lewis Black joke to fit my current vehicular situation: “I got out of my white, 2005 Nissan Sentra and said, ‘If I turn around, I couldn’t possibly see the same, white, 2005 Nissan Sentra. It’s not possible. The world would fold in on itself if I turned around and saw another white, 2005 Nissan Sentra.’ But there it is.”

Popularity aside, the car’s OK. It runs. It’s fairly inconspicuous. The stereo works. It doesn’t smell like Rush Limbaugh’s soul.

But it has a spoiler.

And the spoiler is doing its job: spoiling the car for me, as well as any chance I had to pick up girls simply on the strength of my automobile — actually, that last part may have a lot to do with the fact that the car is a white, 2005 Nissan Sentra, and not so much to do with the spoiler.

I’ve always hated spoilers, though. They scream, “I’m a tool. Hey, look at me. I’m a tool.” The height of the spoiler is directly proportional to how big of a douche the car’s owner is. It’s the popped collar of car culture. I once saw a hatchback with a spoiler, and it looked like what I imagine the Hunchback of Notre Dame would look like if he were wearing a pink Abercrombie polo with the collar popped.

You’re probably wondering why I even bought the car in the first place?

I was sick of car shopping — plain and simple. And if you’ve ever bought a car, you know what I’m talking about. Car shopping isn’t like regular shopping — it’s a lot more like hunting than shopping, really. Usually if I’m going shopping, I enter the store, find what I need, pay for it and leave. Oh, if car shopping was only that simple.

To car shop, you first have to scout your prey. Drive by several dealerships. Check out the Web sites. Comb the classifieds. Then you pick your dealership, arm yourself with some knowledge from Consumer Reports about what you can expect to pay, and you enter the hunting ground.

After you’re on the lot, you see the car you want, and you think, “Hey, we could be out of here before lunch.” That would be true if you didn’t have to deal with the car salesman. He’s the main obstacle between you and your prey. That mountain you have to climb in order to sneak up and shoot the unsuspecting car in the head, so you can mount it on your wall — you have to show it off to your friends somehow, and what better way than on a piece wood with red felt trim?

By the time you finish test driving and listening to the salesman’s weak attempts at building report with you — “I see you’re missing a couple of your fingers. I know how it feels. I can pull my thumb off. Wanna see?” — it’s mid-afternoon, and you’re so sick of hearing about air bags and trunk space that you’re ready to ride a Razor Scooter to work every day. Then, you finally get your shot to buy the car. Maybe it was the stagnant pond water they handed you when you returned to the dealership, or the resulting dysentery, but you’re going to take the shot — you’re going to take whatever offer they make you.

At that point, you should be finished. Not when you’re car shopping. The dealer still has to gut your financial history, use undercoating and extended warranties to bleed you completely dry, and skin you with the scalpels of tax, title and registration. Finally, you sign the papers and get to take your new car home.

And it’s not until after looking out the rearview mirror at your spoiler — causing you to almost lose control of the car — and after you’ve gotten the finger from every sixth car that drove by, that you realize you’ve made a huge mistake.


Kara Thacker said...

Oops! At least he hasn't joined the mass amounts of others in the state with a minivan or SUV for all 10 kids. :)
I would think you could still blissfully give the bird to those throngs...

Tim Haran said...

Tell me about it. I wonder why we own two Corollas every time we park on Corolla Row at the ol' office. I believe four are even the same color as Amy's. No spoilers for us, though.