Some of you know that I usually tool around in a gigantic brown Ford F-150, with a super crew cab and a full-sized bed. That vehicle is 18.5 feet long; I know because I measured it when I tried to explain to my son why my parallel parking demonstration wasn’t working. Back in 2006, I was slightly involved in the process when my husband picked the truck for his primary ride. Then in 2007 he came to the conclusion that it was not a very good commuter vehicle, so we turned in my Impala for a small zippy BMW 300 series and I got the truck. I informed him shortly afterward that the next vehicle we got would be picked out by me, for me. The next four years I had to be diligent about finding the best pull through parking places, preferably ones with no vehicles on either side because maneuvering that beast into a spot was a daily stressful event, and usually resulted in a style of parking that could be described as “cattywampus,” which is a great word but an undesirable outcome. In the garage, there was a specific slant needed to optimize space, and you had to nearly touch the front bumper to the wall for there to be enough room to skirt around the back when the garage door was down. More stress. Adding to the fun, over the years Mr. Wordtabulous has made several observations about my ability to park the truck in the garage, the most flattering being, “Well, that wasn’t quite as bad as usual.” We normally hold onto vehicles for a lot longer, but between the gas mileage and my increasing aggravation (some might call it rage,) we began shopping for a crossover SUV.
I refuse to go into details about the communication problems Mr. W and I had with this process, because I am afraid of sounding even more crazy than I generally do. Let us just say that it took a long time, with many breaks needed for calming breaths and research. Years. Finally, I picked out my car, a 2011 Honda CR-V, EX-L (which means heated leather seats, which I don’t need–but I do love.) What I liked about the CR-V was that it had everything I wanted: good mileage, reasonable power, good safety rating, reclining back seats and adjustable leg room for the teenagers, a place to plug in my mp3 player, (and did I mention heated leather seats?) without making me pay for navigation, bluetooth, and other fantastical features I am too cheap to care about. We cleaned up the cavernous cab of the truck, which is like a living room on wheels with two large recliners in the front and a full sofa in the back, and took it in to talk trade-in, eventually coming to a deal we could live with. I got my car! My husband, after all the discussion and silence involved in the shopping and research portion of the endeavor, had bowed out of the actual dealership visits and test drives, so he didn’t sit behind the wheel until we’d owned the Honda over 24 HOURS. I could not believe the restraint. I was not 100% invested in him loving it because I am kind of growing out of needing him to agree with me, but I was still hopeful he wouldn’t hate it. We went to the mall and he drove. We talked about this and that. He asked how the radio turned off and on. The conversation was pretty neutral. Then, when we were almost home, after a lull in the conversation, he said, “Yep.” This was in a voice that leaned slightly more to approval than to neutral, and which I take as an overall passing grade. And then, in a completely neutral voice, he said, “You can tell it’s a 4-cylinder.”
Hmmph. Everyone knows it is a four cylinder vehicle, and that his car and the truck are both more powerful and studly. Point made. But why? Why point that out? Allow me to compare it to a jewelry purchase: “I see you have a new gold necklace. I can tell it is 10k gold.” He can’t help himself. If I accused him of being negative he would honestly be confused, “But I told you I liked it,” he’d say, because that is evidently part of what “Yep” means, unless it means, “I don’t like it at all, but there is nothing to be done about it now.” There is probably a subtle difference in inflection to differentiate. But even he is amazed how much space we now have in our garage. We could now hold a dance in there, even with both vehicles inside. I might try. I am happy; I like the sleeker look, the improved gas mileage, and the features–and the maneuverability is amazing. There is just one thing that puzzles me. For reasons I do not understand, I still park like crap. But no matter, overall it is still a win and I will take it.