Car Shopping

The old Camry served us well over the years, but it was time for something new.

It was full of crushed up Goldfish crackers, stained carpet and several mysterious dents and scratches caused by doors of other cars, fast-driving parking lot attendants and kids’ bikes. On a warm day, it smelled of ripe and stagnant sippy cups from days gone by.

I loved that thing, for it’s utility and utter lack of hipness. It was so vanilla, it was somehow cool. Behind the wheel, I was Clark Griswold, and my ride rivaled the Family Truckster.

She took us on my trips to L.A. and Tahoe, reliable all the way. We joked about the color — the Toyota salesman called it “moonglow,” but it was really just pretty much a metallic beige.

L. and I were dreading the process of buying another car, mostly because that meant we had to deal with people who sell cars. Let’s just say that we’ve negotiated with our share of slithering sidewinders in the past, and we weren’t eager for a repeat.

This time around we chose a Honda, but before we even hit the dealership, we girded for the worst. We devised a plan. If the salesman gave us a hard time, we’d unleash two hungry and cranky kids in the showroom. The kids would in turn cover all the pretty new cars with fingerprints and Pop Tart crumbs. We figured that would lead any salesman to beg for mercy, we’d get the car we wanted be out of there pronto.

As it turned out, things went pretty smoothly, and we didn’t even have to call upon the little ones for help.

This time around, we’re having the car coated with a sealant that’s supposed to protect seat fabric from spilled juice and guard the paint from the corrosive effects of bird poop.

We’ll see. I’m not sure a sealant has been made that can hold up against everyday life with two wonderful but messy kids.

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