teens take a significant step toward adulthood when they get behind
the wheel (and stereo volume controls) of their own vehicles. My
eldest and most expensive daughter recently reached this milestone
when my wife and I purchased her a pre-owned 2018 Nissan Altima
for her sixteenth birthday. She specifically requested "glacier
white"-because plain white would suggest we were simply providing
her with a practical mode of transport, rather than a lit ride to
impress her squad when she pulls up to spill tea about a dank snack
she thinks is the GOAT. Yeet!
I can't really complain, though. I remember vividly when my dad
took me to a nearby dealership to pick up a gently used, black 1985
Cutlass Calais with the word "SLEEK" painted in neon orange across
the front window. It was the most glorious (and sleekest) two-door
Oldsmobile love machine I had ever seen. My Purple Rain cassette
never sounded sweeter than when it was pulsating within those deeply
tinted windows. I drove that work of poetry on wheels until literally
it bled to death, hemorrhaging antifreeze fluid all over the front
passenger-side floorboard. But I digress (and need to wipe my eyes).
When my daughter told us she'd been praying for an Altima, my wife
and I were a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, though. We
were thrilled that she was including God in her pursuit for a car
that's "straight Gucci," and we have nothing against the automaker
that brought us the delightfully hilarious Cube. We were just hoping
that, based on her tendency to disregard the existence of curbs,
the Lord would lead her to something a little more sturdy-like a
military surplus tactical vehicle. Eventually, though, we reconciled
ourselves to the idea of a mid-sized sedan and intensified our own
prayer regimen-interceding on behalf of her tires and hubcaps.
But first we had to go through the stimulating process of acquiring
Altimus Prime, as my daughter calls "him." (Cue the rare dad eye-roll.)
The car dealership experience proceeded as usual-with my wife doing
all the talking while I tried to look interested and strongly considered
waiting in the children's play area. After going through the typical
charade of making a counter-offer, followed by the sales consultant
stepping out to ask the sales manager (code for "visit the vending
machine to slowly eat a bag of Funyuns"), we then proceeded to the
The finance manager encouraged us to consider several optional warranty
plans-each of them named for precious metals we can't afford. He
implied that if we wanted protection that extends beyond the plastic
tire valve-stem caps, we should go with the Ultimate Platinum Protection
plan, which would only add enough to our monthly payment to buy
me a full body lift.
At that point, I needed a break, so I excused myself to go the restroom.
However, to my alarm, and my wife's amusement, I found that the
door to the finance manager's office was locked. Apparently, they
don't let you out until you've signed something that guarantees
the company will survive the next round of Trump tariffs.
Once I was finally finished watching my wife do her adulting, while
she occasionally patted me and assured me that everything would
be ok, the sales associate walked us out to the car, placed an enormous
red bow on the hood, gave me a Kleenex, and took a photo of my beaming
daughter standing beside Altimus Prime. It was a truly stirring
moment-especially for the sales associate.
It only took our daughter about a month to give Altimus Prime a
minor facial injury while attempting a complex and dangerous vehicular
maneuver-namely parking. But I took the accident in stride and assured
her that I've had my share of fender-benders, usually caused by
matters beyond my control-like a Cardi B song coming on the radio.
Anyway, I'm now bracing myself for a repeat of the whole vehicle-buying
ordeal with my middle daughter, who turns sixteen in a few months.
Anyone know where I can get a Russian tank?