The New Car by Sharon O’Donnell
We have a new car in the family. Well, a used car, but it’s new to us. Our soon-to-be 17-year-old son, David, recently got his driver’s license after waiting four months past the time he was eligible to do so. He’s a junior in high school and plays basketball and baseball on the varsity teams, meaning he’s had so many consecutive practices in the afternoons, he never had time to go take the driving test. Until last week on a teacher work day.
All those practices also mean that we have had to take David and pick him up from lots of practices and games – not to mention other events. With all the extra time he spends at school, it made sense to get him a used car – one that would last him through the rest of high school and college, we hope. Safety was the number one priority when my husband and I were searching for good buys; the later model cars are the safest, but they are also the most expensive. David was happy to be getting a car and never expressed his desire to have a certain type of car – he wasn’t picky. We finally settled on a 2008 Ford Fusion, which we will pick up next week. It had the safety features, durability, and mileage that we wanted.
Based, however, on the condition David keeps his room in, I’m a bit skeptical about him keeping the cloth upholstery as clean as it should be. And I cringe to think about all the sunflower seeds (the preferred snack of baseball players evidently) and empty Gatorade bottles I might find in it after a few weeks. In addition to having David sign a contract about not texting, speeding, etc., I’ll have a talk with him about cleaning up the car. His friends don’t see his room, but they will see his car, so I think that fact alone might force him to keep the car clean.
We’ve had our family SUV since 2003 when we bought it to pull our camper. Now that we’ve sold the camper, we really don’t need such a gas guzzler, especially with gas prices being what they are today. So we’ve looked into trading that vehicle. But I don’t think we can just go with a sedan – the thought of having all 3 of my sons (the 6 foot 6 19-year-old, 6 foot 2 David, and our big 10-year-old) all sitting side-by-side in the back seat causes me to shudder. What stress-free family trips we would have then! Ha. Maybe we’ll have to go for a smaller SUV for my sanity.
Trading in our current SUV, an Expedition, means we will have to take it to one of those detailing places that vacuum and shampoo the inside of it. I’ve only taken it there one time before, and the memory remains with me. At this place, the manager inspected every vehicle after the car detail person had finished, ensuring customer satisfaction. I watched as the manager checked off vehicle after vehicle and moved on to the next one. When he came to our SUV, he said, “Hold on there,” before they gave me back the keys. “I think we need to do a little more work on this one.” The poor guy who had cleaned our SUV dropped his head. I was embarrassed for him and for me. After all, the manager didn’t see what our SUV had looked like when it first came in; there should be a before and after picture taken of each vehicle so he could see how much work had been done and the improvement that had been made. I told the manager that it looked fine to me, but he insisted on cleaning the seats one more time. I knew my guys were hard on car interiors, dating way back to when we used to have a van when Jason was a baby. When I took the van into the car wash, the guy said, and I quote, “Y’all been partying in here!!”
But there will be no partying in my son’s Ford Fusion. Right, David?