Life became ever so complicated when I took a technical leap forward from driving an Android vehicle to an iCar model that requires a Star Trek capability to set the thruster into motion.

It was like back in the ‘90s when life jumped from writing with styluses, pencils and fountain pens to hitting the computer keyboard. Who knew communication could evolve so fast?

Sadly, I evolved better back then than I am currently with my barely used, newish car that’s 13 years younger than the one that was gladly adopted by the granddaughter headed back to college. She’s only six years older than the car, so of course that’s worrisome. I’ve been a 19-year-old before and I know when worry is required.

The Saturn Aura fitted me perfectly, and with my Scots heritage it wasn’t nearly used up. The problem lay with the spouse’s tookus, his aching back and his long legs. He whined worse than the dog on a stormy night anytime I decided to take the wheel.

I relented but he got the ultimatum: I’d consider a newer vehicle after he tested out all the current models that seemed favorable to his rear, back and legs BUT… then he read my list of demands.

“There’s no car like that on the road,” he thundered.

“So I guess I’ll stick with the Aura,” I said, smiling.

His grimace was true overload. All I required was any vehicle that was not black, did not have a black interior and was either red or white.

So he started shopping while I attended to more important household matters. Soon he was on the sucker list for every dealership within 50 miles. Finally he got closer to my requirements when two cars were found at neighboring dealerships on south I-35.

All I really wanted was a newer one that just required insurance and a driver license, but the vehicles I tested were a challenge. It took the salesman riding shotgun to indicate which of a million doo-gigs did what on the dash. Yes, it was sleek and pretty, and it adjusted fairly well to my squatter physique after a lot of diddling. The DH was grinning like a baboon, so proud was he that he had found the car of my dreams.

The car I drove home had everything I didn’t need and made installing a new computer platform look easy. The drive home was fine, without the GPS map on the multimedia screen telling me where to turn (I already knew that) and without the phone attached to the Bluetooth (because that required an app I didn’t have).

The car did everything except honk at the fool who cut in front of me. I pushed and poked around on the steering wheel column until I raised a few blood bruises on my hand. So I quit cause the scofflaw had already disappeared and I was ticked off as it was.

Where was the horn? It wasn’t shown in the slick diagrams. Everything else was, in no particular order. So instead of the tarted-up center dashboard module that all but whistles Dixie (oops, my bad!), I get a car that barely turns on without consulting the literature. It does have a key, unlike many other models. That freaks me out.

I stormed through the back door and placed a call back to the service department, demanding a clue to where the horn was hidden. The nice lady who answered seemed to snicker before answering (tucked under the metal logo!) but I almost hung up on her when she assured Cupcake (me) they could answer every problem I faced!

When I returned to the dealership to pick up the new license tags I nearly checked in as Cupcake, just to see them scramble to find one in their data files. Instead a whole new pile of hornets started buzzing when they hadn’t transferred the VIN yet.

Did I mention that I just hate buying cars? That’s why I hang on to my wheels for so long. It’s way less hassle.

So far I’ve actually blown two whole weekends either talking to the corporate offices about which apps are required (they didn’t know either) or trying to decide when I’d return to the dealership and track down the guy who blew out the apps I already had installed on my phone.

Driving a newer car is almost making the COVID-19 pandemic look simple. For that, you just wash your hands, take a few deep breaths and slip on a mask.

For my two cents, I’d arm wrestle my granddaughter to get my old car back, but that’s unlikely. Whether virus or car, staying home seems simpler.

Shelly Kuehn is a resident of Cooke County and a former volunteer on the Gainesville Daily Register’s reader advisory board.

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