And it still has that new car smell

There are only a couple of things in this life that I am certain of. The first is that popcorn is natures’ most perfect food. I mean think about it, popcorn with gobs of melted butter, kettle korn, ooey gooey Carmel corn, the possibilities are ENDLESS!! But following close behind this nugget of pure truth is the undisputable fact that my 2001 Honda CR-V is the devil incarnate. From the day that spawn of satan burst forth from the womb of the prince of darkness and found its way into my life, I have reaped the consequences. In fairness, I have nobody to blame but myself, after all, I was the one who purchased the damned thing. And by damned I am referring to the literal meaning of the word, thereby implying that my car has no chance of redemption and when it breathes its last noxious breath, you can bet your sweet bippy that it’s place in hell is most emphatically insured…ensured?……crap.

You may be thinking to yourself at this point…”If I wanted to hear a woman complain I can go spend time with my female significant other (BAZINGA!).” Well first off, you are a jerk, but more importantly, you need not fret, for the car is merely setting the stage for todays real topic….Dating!!!!

Like most Mormons, I grew up on a steady Sunday school (refered to as primary) regiment of old and new testament stories. Many of these stories, particularly the teachings of Jesus Christ, are told in what is known as parable style. Maybe it was this parable rich diet that made me so fond of them. I use parables and metaphors all the time when trying to relate an idea or philosophy. So now, with the topic of dating in mind, I present for your interpretational delight….The Parable of the New Car.

Let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t dreamed of walking onto a car lot, strolling straight up to the soulless salesman, and pointing triumphantly to the most expensive brand spanking new model on the lot exclaim, “I’ll take THAT one!” And then, after tossing the appropriate amount of cash defiantly in his face, you tenderly stroke your new love, slip sensually behind the wheel, gently turn the key (or do that whole push button start thing. I guess that would make more sense with a new expensive vehicle, I don’t know, I drive a crappy CR-V…but I digress), and drive conservatively off into the sunset. Perfect.

There is just something about the knowledge that you were the first and only person to ever sit behind that wheel, and you are the first and only person to put any miles on your dream car, that gives you such pleasure. Because after all, when you buy something used, you never know what you are getting. You don’t know if the previous owner was diligent in keeping up with oil changes and tire rotations. No. Used cars are cars we have UNTIL we can have our dream car, brand new and untouched by any other human hand.

Unfortunately for most of  us though, we can not afford the luxury of driving a brand new car off the lot. For most of us, our car history will be littered with a potpourri of used car after used car. And because of this, we must put our faith in the previous owners that they have been as gentle and respectful with what will ultimately become the vehicle we take for better and worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live. Which, in the case of my CR-V will hopefully be but a moment more! I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But you get my point right?

Now, all that being said, even though we hope, and in some ways expect that the car we eventually commit ourselves to will have a clean “carfax” report, how often  do we treat the cars we are currently driving with the same level of care and respect?

Think of the last time you had to drive a rental vehicle? I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that your first thought probably wasn’t, “Gee, the person who drives this car after me deserves the utmost preservation of the integrity thereof.” No, you are thinking that eating indian take out while spinning doughnuts in the tack factory parking lot sounds like a gay ol’ time! Afterall, you know you have no intention of purchasing this vehicle. In short, “Not my problem”. But as most of you know, or maybe you don’t, many rental cars or “fleet vehicles” will end up being sold to a private owner. Which means, however long it takes and regardless of how many people enjoyed it’s services prior, these cars will eventually become “the” car for some well-intentioned wide-eyed youth or adult.

Have I lost anyone yet? Still with me? Making the connections?

I would like to close my parable by asking a question. Is it fair to demand or even expect that your used vehicle will have been driven like new with basically no wear and tear when you yourself have not shown the same respect to your, “in the mean time cars”,  meaning the cars you may have liked at the time, but ultimately knew you weren’t going to end up with? And even if at the time you were fairly convinced  that your current vehicle was indeed going to be THE vehicle in your life, does that then give you the right to treat it in like fashion before that loan is totally paid off and that title is firmly in your sweaty hands? If you are willing to “rally” the vehicle of another, can you then be upset to find that your vehicle may have a few more dings on the door than you would prefer?

Look folks, nobody is perfect. I know it’s hard to accept the flaws of others. And what I am NOT saying is that if you are one of those who has always treated every car that you have ever driven as if it were the car, that you can’t then anticipate and seek out a vehicle in like condition. But what I am saying is that I believe precious few fall into this category.

Ultimately my reason in sharing this parable is two-fold. First, it is to entreat us all to maybe be a bit more conscious about the way we are driving and maintaining our current vehicles, and second, to suggest that when that beautiful day arrives when you realize that you have found the car that you want to spend the rest of your life or (if you are a Mormon) the rest of eternity with, that you will be more forgiving of the scars and/or imperfections that somebody else is going to have to also forgive because of your actions.

Let us all treat each other like that car we see in our fantasies. Seems reasonable to me.

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