We’ll take the Nissan
“We’ll take the Nissan,” she said. Perhaps, I thought. After all, she had said that before, and we had ended up taking the Ford Explorer, or the Yugo. Or the bus. Once, we decided to switch to the tandem bike at the last minute, but it had a flat, so we walked. And then there were many times when she had said the very same thing and we had stayed home! So, let’s wait and see. I wondered why she persisted with the fantasy of the Nissan when in the past she had so bitterly regretted making the announcement prematurely. I was loathe to remind her of the time she had boldly grabbed the Nissan keys from their hiding place between the couch cushions and strode in her Ugg boots out to the driveway only to find that the Nissan was conspicuously absent. Panic, dismay, anger all flashed across her face in a few seconds. “My car has been stolen,” she wailed. “The NISSAN! Call the police!” For a moment I was sucked into her maelstrom. Indeed, the Nissan was gone. Not a trace of it. Then one of us, I forget whether it was me or her, remembered that she had left the Nissan in the parking lot of the beauty salon where she had had her hair/face/nails cut/colored/tweezed/manicured. We had a good laugh over that, then I took her in my car to get the Nissan. She was so happy to find the Nissan that to celebrate, we stopped for In-and-Out burgers and Krispy Kremes on the way home. We got grease and frosting all over our faces but we didn’t care – we had the Nissan back.
After that incident, I noticed something troubling, but I haven’t wanted to mention it to her. She started taking small pieces of the Nissan with her – in her purse, in her pockets, even to bed. The other day, when she opened her purse to get something, I saw the Nissan gas cap! Later, in the pocket of her jeans, I found a knob to the radio. And the other morning, after she got up, I found one of the floor mats in her side of the bed. Fear of loss? Separation anxiety? Yet, when I went out to the Nissan later in the day, everything was there. No missing gas cap, or knob, or mat. So, I probably won’t say anything unless the behavior becomes worse. For instance, if I found the fuel injectors in the pantry, or the exhaust system under the bed, or the coolant overflow reservoir in the refrigerator, then, perhaps, I might mention it in an offhand way.
“Hon, have you noticed any Nissan parts out of place lately?”
“Out of place? What do you mean, ‘out of place’?”
“You know, not where they belong.”
“How could they be not where they belong?”
“Well, I noticed the coolant overflow reservoir in the refrigerator the other day.”
“What are you talking about? That’s a Tupperware container full of iced tea.”
One of us is a little cuckoo clock, if you know what I mean. I don’t think it’s me. Maybe it really is iced tea, but I’m not going to be the first to drink it.
Once she told me she was thinking of a name for the Nissan.
“What do you mean, a name?” I asked. I never was one to name cars. I know some people do. Women mostly, I think. Perhaps by anthropomorphizing them with names the cars become less mechanical, less unknown and become more fuzzy and friendly.
“You know, like ‘The Green Monster’ or ‘Old Faithful’ or ‘Rumbleguts’, she said.
“How about ‘Continually Depreciating’?” I suggested.
“You have no soul,” she said.
But I’m afraid the Nissan’s days are numbered. She didn’t know it, but last weekend, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her peeking at the new car ads in the Sunday paper.
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