I may not have been certain about my car selection when I made it--I had just arrived the night before from New York. I was tired, I was angsty, I was carless in a city that is simply inaccessible without a car. A decision needed to be made quickly, a deal struck, and a car driven off the lot. I had until closing time to complete my mission. With the aid of a dear friend who has the patience of an almost-saint, I went to the Mini-Cooper dealership where I saw my first car crush, then drove it, then came to my senses. And then in a spontaneous--my dream has just died a death of pragmatism and budget, I better find another one asap--moment, we drove to the downtown Los Angeles Volkswagen dealership, where we were met with the caricatured pushiness of several car salesmen and freshly popped popcorn. One might even say the sales tactics at this particular dealership were bordering on...manipulative--like, oh let's see--how they essentially wouldn't let us leave for lunch and harassed us with a line of questioning that followed our "We're going to go for lunch and come back," with something like, "Why are you leaving? Are you not sure about the car? Are you really going to come back? Are you going to determine anything outside that you couldn't figure out here? Are you? Are you? Are you???" And after the actual purchase, when "Steve," the primary salesman basically cornered me in the car and instructed me on exactly what responses to give when I would later be called by the VW HQ about his performance. Well Steve, how about instead of saying excellent to everyhing as instructed, I should just tell them that you're a frightening, frightening PSYCHO? How would that do?
All this to say, so perhaps I wasn't sure of my decision. Perhaps I settled on the Volkswagen Jetta because if I didn't drive off in one, I wouldn't have a ride the next day to continue the search for the more perfect vehicle. Or because Steve and his cronies had my number and I feared long term harassment. Whatever the reason, I drove away in a car that seemed a little adult for me. I felt like the leather seats were too luxurious. The size, a little hard for parking. The chrome grill, akin to a barbeque I'd never seen on a car before. The trunk, suitable for soccer moms, not hot 24 year olds ready to cruise on the freeway.
But I was getting over all this. One month in I was starting to love my Jetta like a mother begins to love its ugly baby. And then...yesterday...I saw the Sunday Times article. "2005 Volkswagen Jetta" was like a stick to the heart.
The first disheartening announcement from Mr. Jeff Sabatini, aka The Fun Killer:
A new advertising campaign, still heavy on the music, carries a new tagline: "It's all grown up. Sort of." Which implies that all those 20-somethings, having reached the age that makes them no longer trustworthy, need cars more consistent with their new stations in life - even if they are not too happy about it.
Did you need to point this out Fun Killer? Did we need to address, in the Times no less that I am a. getting old, b. still not trustworthy, and c. unhappy with my new, undefined "station" in life. Bite me Jeff.
And then things get personal:
Most unsettling is the new grille, surely one of the largest chrome-finish surfaces on any passenger car made today.
You know what Jeff, some babies have bigger teeth than others. Some babies' heads are clearly too big for their bodies. But therapists for years have been trying to counter the damaging demoralization of critics like you. Now my baby is going to grow up with a grille complex. And who's gonna pay for the years of auto therapy? Who Jeff-the Fun Killer-Sabatini?
And so Fun Killer went on and on, ripping apart my Jetta. Killing my delusion that I had somehow picked a car that still said fun! young! cruising for boys! I should have known from the looks of Steve and his buddies at the dealership that I was not getting fun. That I was not buying young. That this Jetta would bring me no boys. Even with the G D sunroof.
The baby's crying. Gotta run. She's got to take me to work. And she'll do it at 22 miles a gallon damnit.
Kisses * Jessie