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Introducing Esme

2004-04-25 - 10:14 p.m.

I have a new love in my life. I never thought I'd love like this again. Truth be told, I haven't fallen in love like this since I was 16 years old, but it feels great to love like this again.

Her name is Esmerelda, and she's a Mazda 3 hatchback painted a gorgeous titanium gray.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a motorsexual. I do not fall in love with cars. In fact, I've only fallen in lust with one car, a red sports car owned by a very nerdy boy, which, believe you me, made a lot of difference. I did grow to love the first car I ever drove, a white Mazda 626. That car and I had some great times. It had a sunroof that allowed for limited but enjoyable stargazing while parked. The back of the chairs still sparkled from the remains of a glitter fight I had with some friends (yes, I know, I'm EXTREMELY gay). Most memorably of all, it's the car in which I lost my virginity. That's not a car you'd be willing to give up easily.

So imagine my ire when I came home one year from college to find my mother had given it to the housekeeper. Granted, I was somewhat amused considering what had gone on in the car, but mostly I just wanted my baby back.

Instead, I had a couple of hand me down cars that I did not love. The first was a Buick Regal that I very quickly totaled. After that came the Explorer that, if you refer to an older entry, apparently has the crew of the Enterprise living somewhere inside. This car took me to Philly and back, and we had some good times. But the truth is I can never fall for assholes, and I quickly learned that I was driving the automotive equivalent of an asshole. SUVs destroy the environment, and have CRAP fuel efficiency, as I quickly learned. So I always held myself back from the Explorer and its wicked wicked ways.

Even the name Explorer is awful, when you think about it. It makes you wonder if the next model isn't going to be called the Colonizer.

Well, last week the Explorer was returned to my father, who loves nothing more than a car that means status and environmental destruction, to be overhauled and turned into a company car. I was then taken to get my you-got-into-grad-school-and-I-can-now-stop-giving-you-money present, namely Esmerelda, or Esme for short.

Granted, it took me a while to deal with getting a new car. As I said, I am not a motorsexual, and I have no desire to go look at cars. Basically, if the thing drives, has air conditioning, and has a CD player in it, I am fine, because all I want to do is get from point A to point B and the only way I can manage that is with cooling and music. So, it was only when the Explorer finally broke down in the HEB parking lot that I was willing to even look online. I had my choice between a Mazda 3 and a PT Cruiser.

Now, the next bit I stole from Rita Rudner, because she put it better than I ever could.

Back when I owned the Mazda, I would ask people what kind of car they drove, they would say "a Ford Mustang" or "a Toyota Corolla" or what have you. When they asked me, I said I drove a white car.

That was all Rita. I cite my sources like a good future PhD student!

Anyway, I am glad I actually looked online in this case, because I found out that the PT Cruiser is what I had always referred to as "The Addams Familymobile" or "That Really Ugly Car That Looks Like a Hearse." If you own and love a PT Cruiser, I am sorry that you love such an ugly car. I am deeply grateful that I was able to choose the Mazda 3 before I had to get used to driving around singing "It's crazy and it's kooky! Mysterious and spooky! It's altogether ooky! My Ugly Fucking Car!"

Off to the lot to see the Mazda 3. After digging through cars that were the wrong color, or that had too small an engine, or that were manual rather than automatic transmission (because I can barely concentrate on the steering wheel, let alone a stick shift) we found my baby. We drove it off the lot that evening, after spending upwards of two hours trying to track down insurance. All I'll say is that it was a good thing no one in my family got pulled over in the preceding days, because none of us had a clue where our insurance slips were.

When everything was settled, I drove home with my stepsister. She's turning 15 this summer, and already visions of Mustangs dance in her head. I told her that we needed to name the car. Due to the color, I had thought about Gandalf the Gray, but I figured that a car, particularly my car, needed a female name. My stepsis asked if I wanted the car to have an English or Spanish name, and I said either would do. She said she liked the name Esmerelda.

For those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have read Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Esmerelda is the first name of the Disc's greatest witch, Granny Weatherwax. Having always loved Granny's no nonsense attitude, I couldn't think of anything better.

So now I have a car named after a witch, and she and I are having quite the time. For the first time ever, I've found myself showing my car off. I offer to pick up people even if they live on the other side of town. I take people for drives and make unnecesary circles in parking lots to show off her turning radius. I crank up the stereo using the controls ON THE STEERING WHEEL (an invention that, like the cell phone, will make me wonder how I ever got by without it). I give the hood and the steering wheel little pats to show I care. I've even made a decision to keep it clean, something I never managed to do with any other car. I've been removing trash as it accumulates for the past few days, and hope that I'll keep it up as the months and years go by.

After all, this car is coming with me to Berkeley. This car is going to take me and my friends across the bridge to San Fransisco and wild nights of partying. This car will drive me up and down the California coast. This car might even take me to Vegas if I want it to, or if I need to pick up Shkbob next year if she develops a sudden gambling addiction.

Hell, maybe this car will even see some back seat action of its very own. After all, I intend to take full advantage of everything that San Fransisco has to offer.

Esme Weatherwax would say, "I can't be having with this." I'll have to hope that this Esme has some Nanny Ogg in her as well. And if you want to get that joke, I recommend buying a copy of Wyrd Sisters as soon as possible.

I'll drive you.

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The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
Sisters Lolita and Matronic Explain It All for You - 2005-01-31
Cowboys and Medievalists - 2005-01-30

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