Monday, July 23, 2012

New Car Smell

The first new car my parents bought was a Pontiac T-1000—a copy of the Chevrolet Chevette, the name later changed to just Pontiac 1000. My first dosage of new car smell, as we rode home in the pristine, burgundy seats and carpeting, the floors still with the paper covering the rubber floormats, clear plastic that had until recently covered the seats stuffed under the passenger’s seat. The old car, a used Datsun, abandoned at the dealer, the weird sensation of a trusted piece of the family now gone, efficiently replaced with some paper signing. That smell, I said, inhaling deeply. Yeah, my father said, but it goes away, it doesn’t last more than a few weeks. Maybe they should make a spray so you could always have it. My mother, in the passenger seat, was quiet, writing a list of things for Easter, which was just three days away, using the owner’s manual as a writing surface. My brother would’ve been there but he was off with his friends, playing pinball, finding trouble. The car would be his to drive soon enough—to be his own with dings and dents, a broken windshield winding handle. After the first traffic light, there was the beltway entrance, open space. He shifted gears; the car paused, then jumped to the on-ramp. I leaned against the window, counted passing Volkswagen Beetles to myself.

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