Not My Uncool Car,
But An Uncool Reasonable Facsimile Thereof
It was dead and gone all right, My Uncool Car.
Victim of a traffic accident, it sat there inert, its right front hood and side smashed in as if hit by a giant meteor, its right front headlight so demolished the car looked like it was winking at me.
Which was somewhat disquieting, because no one has winked at me in this century. My hope had been that when I'd finally be winked it, it would be by other than My Uncool Car.
My Uncool Car would never have been considered to be hip even when I bought it, but it at least possessed a well-earned sense of respectability. Over the ten years or so that we were together, however, it had made the gradual but inevitable descent from credible but boring to the vehicular status of lime-green leisure suit.
Except, of course, it wasn't lime-green.
You've seen My Uncool Car many times, I'm quite certain. It was a 2001 Toyota Camry LE in that pale coffee color that was quite popular back in that day. Nowadays it is driven mostly by:
1) Eighty-five plus year old men and women, often wearing hats
2) Exasperated women with a car full of small children, all of whom are unruly, and
We drivers of these uncool cars hang on to them because they are reliable and if properly maintained can be driven to neighboring star systems and back. And we drivers of these uncool cars tend not to fix body damage to them because it seems foolish to spend money on aesthetics for a car most folks view as omnipresent representatives of the precise and insightful dictionary definition of the very word "LAME-O" itself.
My Uncool Car had all the trappings of its iconic kind. The exterior was graced with banged and bruised sides and fenders, scraped hubcaps, gashed tires, and an artless attempt at front fender repair with touch-up paint of garishly wrong hue. Inside were coffee stains, coke stains, and crumbs of virtually every type of fast food ever enjoyed in America.
Frankly I never much minded climbing behind the wheel of My Uncool Car, despite the fact that the only stares it ever received were stares of derision. And indeed sometimes I'd even receive a thumbs up from a fellow uncool car driver, most frequently from one who amazed me that he had sufficient thumb strength to make the gesture at all.
But all in all I tended to the road, set my social rank on declasse, and got where I was going.
Except when parking in a lot. There, in the off-chance that I might be spotted by someone of attractive feminine gender, I'd search diligently to park next to a car that might somehow comparatively make My Uncool Car actually appear vaguely cool. As difficult a task as this routinely was, once I did indeed strike pay dirt, locating a spot between a 1995 chartreuse Dodge Neon with a taped up left rear window and a battered gray Chevy Impala with paint job by Bill Murray's dermatologist.
Sadly, when I returned from my errands, the dynamic had been irreparably altered. I was now fully ensconced between a late model Lexus LS-460 and a 2012 Mercedes CL Sedan.
"Look at that old bald loser, Mommy!" shouted out a small child as I opened the door to My Uncool Car. As the mom tried desperately to shush him, he went on: "Know how I know he's a loser? He's driving one of those uncool pale coffee color 2001 Camry LE's!"
"So what?" said the mom.
"It's an onnipresent representative of the precise and insightful dictionary definition of the very word "LAME-O" itself, Mommy!" he added.
A wise child indeed.
Although I can't say I loved driving about in a car that screamed "Interested in meeting somebody new? Move on!," there was a certain comfort behind the wheel of My Uncool Car. We knew each other well. There were never any surprises. There were no expectations.
Now My Uncool Car is being hauled away to an unmarked auto yard where its parts will be disassembled and no doubt distributed to a multiplicity of uncool cars driven by a multiplicity of uncool drivers.
Good bye, My Uncool Car! Rest in Peace.
Now I'll begin looking for another car. Doubtless it will be newer, cleaner, faster, better smelling, and fully free of garishly incorrect touch-up paint.
But with any luck, it will be every bit as uncool.