Almost Apolitical, Everyday Epiphany, humor, Politics, Technology

Almost Apolitical: Saying Hello to My Car, Pearl

Pearl, my new Subaru Forester, has big tires to fill. 

Two weeks ago, I bid farewell to Suze, my 17-year-old Acura. She had reliably transported me across many state and international borders, politely “recalculated” when I drove astray, and protected me when a sedan ran a red light and T-boned her driver’s side. (For a detailed account of my love affair with Suze see my last post.) 

Pearl, the upstart, arrived fresh off the auto transport truck and expected me to drive her IMMEDIATELY. (Of course, I drove her EVENTUALLY. Otherwise I would have had to sleep overnight at the Subaru Dealership in Libertyville and with Covid I think there’s a rule against that even if I wore a mask the whole night.)

It didn’t seem right to jump in this strange car and take off. It seemed like I was replacing a best friend. Would I ever attain the familiar comfort I shared with Suze?

Apparently even though Pearl wanted me to drive her immediately home Charles and Celeste and Peter would have none of it! (Think sales and financial and delivery specialists respectively.)

Charles, the sales dude, who was so low pressure you would have thought he was just a nice guy helping you out (Hey, maybe that’s a sales technique!) required that I show him a license and insurance and made sure I was really me by asking detailed questions like how old I am and my mother’s maiden name and do I steam or stir fry asparagus. (Ok, I made that last one up, but I do stir fry with lemon pepper.) 

That took an hour. I got antsy.

Then Celeste, the financial woman, explained a bazillion extended warranty choices outlined in color coded columns and named Diamond and Platinum and Gold. (I think there was one called Coal, but it only covered repairs for eighty-three minutes after you drove off the lot. I passed on that one.) Even though I asked questions like, “So how much would I save if I bought the Sapphire Plan that covers oil changes until midcentury instead of looking for oil change coupons on the internet? Also, if oil prices continue to fall, will I be reimbursed?” She answered all my questions thoroughly and in great detail. I forget what gemstone plan I bought, but it fit my needs.

That killed another sixty minutes. My head spun and felt a bit like Pearl. I wanted to drive home.

The steering wheel alone had a bazillion controls!

Finally, Peter the delivery specialist (who I call the “car tutor”) explained the touch screens (There is more than one.), the buttons (There’s about a half dozen, but the most important one is START.) and the switches (The windshield wiper and headlights have about eight each.). Peter noticed my eyes rolling back and quickly approaching a comatose state. He wisely suggested that I leave the Cruise Control instruction for later. He handed me his card and said to call him ANYTIME I had a question about Pearl. He always had his cell phone with him and actually answered it! (No working your way through several numerical audio paths then being placed on hold.)

That finished off the afternoon and I was MORE than ready to drive Pearl home.

I slid behind Pearl’s steering wheel which could be adjusted almost as many ways as the driver’s seat while Charles alerted the dealership manager (or president) so he could congratulate me on my purchase. (Though it felt more like an adoption at this point.) The dealership manager (or president) assured me that Libertyville Subaru appreciated my business and that I should contact them if I had any questions. I left before the brass band played or the floats organized or medals were awarded. 

Pearl and I drove slowly home listening to the Bruce Springsteen station on our three-month Sirius trial. (There HAD to have a Springsteen station. I WAS going to cancel.)

Sirius HAD to have a Springsteen station. I was going to cancel the free trial!

I pulled into my driveway and after listening to Bruce sing the last chorus of “Rosalita” (and thinking I’d sit by his fire any time he wanted) I punched Pearl’s START/OFF button. I figured since Pearl was already STARTED all I had to do was punch the button again to turn it off. The touch screen continued to light, and Bruce launched into “Dancing In The Dark.” (I’ve attended over a dozen Springsteen concerts and wanted to be the one that he chose to dance with him on stage. Since I couldn’t afford the bazillion dollar tickets in the first row, I never had a chance. Yet I always held the hope that one time Bruce would shout out, “Hey, you, middle aged, suburbanite woman in row XX standing on your seat holding a DANCE WITH ME, BRUCE sign get up here!” but that never happened.)

Tired from the long afternoon of explanations, frustrated that I never will have the opportunity to dance with Springsteen, I punched as many buttons as I could find to turn off the radio. 

Nothing worked.

There are over 500 pages in the Owner’s Manual

I glanced over at the voluminous owner’s manual and didn’t have the energy to figure out what I was doing wrong. Turning off the radio couldn’t be THAT hard. Next to the manual a business card sparked hope. Peter, the “car tutor’s” business card shone like a beacon. 

I called. Peter answered. I asked. Peter explained. Radio off. Pearl off. (Apparently the radio turns off when the car is off and the driver opens the door. I had pushed a button to keep the accessories on after the car turned off.)

So I’m becoming more familiar with Pearl and what she has to offer. I’m reading through the owner’s manual and learning skills like adjusting the speed of the intermittent windshield wiper. It’s not all that complicated when I take the time to inform myself. And, yes, I’m sure when it comes to mastering the Cruise Control idiosyncrasies, I’ll call Peter for advice.

It’s like the upcoming elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates and find the ones that are best not only for you, but for the country. If there’s something you don’t understand keep reading until you do. 

One thing you CAN’T do is call Peter. He only gives advice about Subaru.

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