Cleek has moved to
Update your treasure maps accordingly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


I'm in the market for a new car. It's a strange situation in that suddenly I'm neither offended nor enraged by the fact that every third commercial on TV is an ad for a car or truck of some kind; these days, I'm actually paying attention and take mental notes. It's an amazing little shift in attitude. I'm a little disappointed in myself that I was able to put aside years of loathing car dealers and their ads, but I'm sure that after I get my new car, I'll start hating those loud, annoying commercials again.

I've been visiting car dealers and test driving things - or trying to. Some dealers simply will not acknowledge me. I can wander around their lot for a half hour, sit in all the cars and look in their trunks without ever having a salesperson approach me. It's probably because I look young for my age (at 33, I still get carded) and on the weekends, I don't dress like the kind of person who could afford one of the cars I'm looking at. I probably look like a 17 year old kid who just got done with a shift at the hardware store.

Still, I have been able to catch the attention of a salesman or two. After expressing my interest in his wares, and indicating my desire to take a test drive, he'll eagerly fetch the keys, then show me the car. The tour always starts with the engine. He'll proudly pop up the hood and point at the shiny stuff, mumble some acronyms and nod appreciatively. I'll nod too, cause I'm smart enough to know when I'm supposed to be impressed, even if I'm not smart enough to actually know what I'm looking at - "Yep, it's got a full set of wires and rubber hoses in there. Sweet." One engine looks pretty much any other engine to me; all I care about is 1) can it push me back in my seat and 2) can I abuse it everyday for two years before I have to bring it in for maintenance. So, the Presentation Of The Engine seems like a waste of time to me.

It's like the cork/sipping ritual at a restaurant; the waiter arrives with the wine and shows me the bottle, I nod approvingly; he opens the wine and hands me the cork; I pick it up, look at it (1...2...) and nod approvingly; he pours a little glass for me to try; I try it and nod approvingly; then he gives my wife a full glass before filling mine the rest of the way. It's a silly little ceremony, but I haven't figured out a way to avoid it. I don't know why I need to look at the cork (or plork, or screwcap in one case - the waitress assured us the wine was good, and it was, but warned us in hushed tones when we ordered it that it came in a screwtop bottle). I don't know why I need to approve the wine before my wife gets some. The whole ceremony is an annoying distraction and only delays the enjoyment of the intoxication for which I've payed a 200% markup.

At least test drives are free.

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.