"Your van is making a new sound," my husband said the other day.
"Hmmm," I answered. I'm used to this conversation. He mentions a new sound or quirk about my van a couple of times a month.
"Have you noticed it?" he continues.
"It's kind of a clunk or a ping."
"Yeah, the van and I don't have conversations anymore. Not since she confided in my she might be having feelings for the Johnson's Suburban. Really. TMI."
"I think it might be time to replace the van."
And so we have looked on the internet, visited dealerships, and test driven different modes for transporting families. The result is always the same. I can't justify spending so much money on something I just don't care about. My dream car includes one where the engine turns over and has a working heating and air conditioning system.
And so the discussion repeats itself. He hears a new sound, takes it to the mechanic, the brakes are replaced, new rack and pinion, tires rotated or replaced, an alignment, electrical work done, etc. I just don't hear the sounds. This week he took matters into his own hands with my encouragement.
"The van is making a new sound. I'm afraid it will be the brakes again."
"Go buy a new one, then. You know you want to. I won't go with you this time."
"What if you hate it?"
"How can I hate something that I don't care about? I told you. Cars don't talk to me."
Friday afternoon he brought home my new minivan. I let him show me all the little features the old one didn't have. I pretty much got stuck on the automatic door feature. That's the feature where you sit in the driver's seat and push a button. The back doors on either side open. Push again, they close. Open. Close. Open. Close. Open. Close. Half an hour later, I finally tired of this game and reached to close the garage door. I missed the control because the sun visor sits further forward than I'm used to.
Today I drove to a nearby town to eat lunch with my dancing friends. Without anybody else in the car, I really concentrated on the sounds. It hummed. I tried to figure out the radio system and found befuddlement with the satellite radio. Until I found a station called "First Wave." It is an 80's station that plays "New Wave" songs. Later, when I told my husband about the great station I found, he responded with, "You mean that techno crap from the 80's?" A little piece of my died there. I was a closet Waver.
As I negotiated the new shifting into gear which required my visual attention, adjusting the temperature control, and staring at the lit icon on the dashboard, I realized I would grow accustomed to this new vehicle. But the truth is that I was slightly unsettled as I drove. I accelerated and waited for the rattle I thought I'd tuned out from the old van. It didn't come. When I braked, I expected a small sound to let me know I was really braking. The catch in the steering wheel when I turned right was absent.
I was wrong, of course. The old van and I had fallen into a familiar pattern. We had expectations of one another. When she produced a new sound, I accepted it as her quirky personality and quickly placed it into her background noise. I feel a little like I am betraying her but not enough to give up the quiet hum of the Kia. I will miss the honk she made when I finally located her in the parking lot and stood 3 feet from her and pushed the control on the key chain. She never could respond from very far away.
I lied. We did communicate. And I hope she finds a good home with a handsome Suburban.
If you need me, I'll be out in the garage conversing with the new minivan, pushing the button to open the automatic doors. Then close them. Then open them. Then close them. If you hear a giggle, it's not me.