Yep, that’s right. That right there is our new babyhauling chariot. That’s sixteen months of waiting and saving and cursing silently as we hoisted poor Finn into the gaping maw of the Jeep, praying we wouldn’t blow a disc or pull a muscle while simultaneously twisting, stretching, and lifting her into a rear-facing carseat. Now we’ve got four doors,bitches! Four doors and more airbags than a political convention. We waited and watched and saved and compared and test-drove, and when it was time to move, we marched on that Carmax faster than ants at a picnic.
Actually, I bought Jen and I some lunch first. But then we marched into the showroom with a printout in hand, featuring that pretty silver car, with low miles and a stick shift, and said, “This one.” Arthur, our salesman, really didn’t have to do much other than hand us the keys and take a siesta in the back seat. He knew we were there to party. He was professionally mortified, however, when we pointed out the red Sharpie drawings on the back of the C-pillar plastic, and he had their service guys remove it as soon as we finished the test drive.
Did I mention this thing has a table in the back? A fucking table. It’s the cover to the rear well. It’s got legs that pop down, and you can pull it out and use it for tailgating selling lemonade.
When I told Arthur we were paying with a check, he didn’t blink an eye; he just said, “Ok,” and tried to ignore my shaky hand as I wrote out one of the biggest dollar amounts I’ve ever spent (Yes, the down payment on this house was orders of magnitude more expensive, but that was all done by the real estate people, and all I did was sign a paper that said “move this money there.”) It sure did feel good to have done that at least once in my life.
So, power everything, a sunroof, cruise control, 6-disc CD changer (?!?) and enough room in back to comfortably hold a carseat with the LATCH system and not bungee cords. The seats fold and tumble down into a space the size of a deck of cards, unlike the Jeep’s mattress-like bench, which only folds when stood upon. And a stick! It’s not like the stick in the Saturn, which has a clunky, open American feel to it, or the Scout, which is like driving, well, a truck. This has the Honda-style stick which feels miniaturized somehow, and on a spring: The distance between 1st, 3rd and 5th is about a quarter-inch, so one has to be careful not to accidentally downshift when looking for fifth gear merging into traffic. At least the sweet spot is larger than my last Honda. It will take some getting used to, but it’s the kind of getting used to I’m prepared to do for the next 150,000 miles.