Perks of the Trade

O.K. Since I know you’ve been dying to ask, I’ll just admit it . .  it’s not easy driving a shiny new coupe, and pretending like it’s yours. But, somebody’s got to do it. That’s one of the perks that comes with being married to a car salesman.

Perk number one, of course, would be our customers. We have wonderful customers. Happy ones, sad ones; smart ones, simple ones; fat ones, skinny ones. Dark ones, light ones. Some of them are the nicest people. Some of them become dear friends. Oh, just so you know, we don’t call them perks to their face.

Running a close second is marital harmony. You learn to pick and choose your battles with a schedule like ours. There aren’t a whole lot of lines in the sand. We’re pretty happy together. Might as well be, since we’re not together long enough to appreciate a full-blown fight.

Speaking of husbands, I can promise you I never have to worry about Rob looking at another woman.  Never. When Rob says, “Will you look at that?” I know before my head even turns what he’s oogling, a ’52 Ford, or a ’65 Chevy, or a . . . . . being a ’53 myself . . . . oh, never mind.

One favorite perk is the late model vehicle Rob drives home at night. We’re supposed to drive around in it, and make people salivate, crave, and dream - you get the picture. As Christians, we try never to push it to the point of envy. There are company rules.  Still, on occasion, I confiscate the keys, slide behind the wheel, start the engine, and put on airs.  For a few, brief minutes I sport around the neighborhood, in that shiny new coupe, and pretend that it’s mine.

Lest you begin to burn with envy, you should know that there are drawbacks in being married to a car salesman. If you’re going to communicate with any level of intelligence, you have to learn to talk their talk. They have a language of their own. With practice, extended car warranty, platinum program, rebate, and drive shaft roll off your tongue most near as easy as laundry, chicken, colic and mumps. I’m not complaining, mind you, there’s a silver lining to every cloud. Not only have I expanded my vocabulary, I’ve, also, become adept at interpretation. For instance, “I’ll be there in ten minutes, honey,” really means, “give or take an hour. Or, two. Or . . .”

Of course, the dynamics of the human factor must be considered. It’s rare, but nonetheless, occasionally we have a truly cranky customer who wants it done. Yesterday.   Or, the one who insists that Rob turn water into wine. He’s quite awesome folks, but He ain’t Jesus.

And, though it’s hard to believe, it can be rather trying during those few, brief minutes when I sport around the neighborhood, in a shiny new coupe, and pretend that it’s mine.

Seriousl y!

I had one of those trying days not long ago. There was so much to do. My mind chugged along like a sluggish locomotive, on a steep incline, on a blustery, snowy day. Gotta do, gotta do, gotta do, gotta do, gotta do, gotta do . . . Wooooh- woooooh. Everything had urgent stamped on its backside. The “to-do’s” become as insistent as quarreling siblings.

Do me first.

No, me!

I was here first.

Soooo, I’m more important.

Mommmm!& lt;/font>

I keep track of my duties on an ever-shifting list in my mind. I said that, to say this: Sometimes I forget. That probably comes as a great surprise to you, but I do have those atypical moments when I descend into a fog. I like to think it’s because I have so much on my mind but, between, you and me- I think its old age.

Anyhow, I was at the grocery store.

And, I forgot. I admit it, I forgot!

Everybod y knows you don’t just go around saying that to strangers- especially, HE strangers. There’s a rule about that somewhere. It says, “A real woman never admits she’s wrong.” It’s on page 53, right before the paragraph that begins with, “Real men never admit it when they’re lost. ”

Anyway, I digress. Toilet paper, check. Milk, check. Bread, check. Coffee . . .

I admit it took awhile, but not that long.

Mission accomplished, I walk out the front door.

Perhaps, you’ve never taken the time to notice, but there are a lot of vehicles in the parking lot of a busy supermarket. Big ones, little ones. Old ones, new ones. I stop and scan the multi-colored sea before me.  Good grief, there must be two hundred or more of them.

There's a disturbing thumpin' in my chest. “Be still, my heart,” I say. “I’m trying to look cool.”

Might it be that you know what I'm talkin' about? You stretch, pick at your teeth, yawn, acting as though it’s the norm to walk out the door, buggy teeming, and take a few minutes to appreciate the lovely lot before you. You lazily look this way and that- like you’ve got all the time in the world, and nothing else to do. No kids, no husband, no dinner to fix, no life to live.

I haven’t had a lot of practice looking cool. Obviously.  It wasn't long before one of those cute, little high school guys- the ones that make a living retrieving grocery buggies from the parking lot- says, “Can, I help you?”

I want to say, “Why, whatever makes you think I need help?”

Instead, I say, “No. Well, yes. (chuckle, chuckle) I can’t seem to find my car.”

&ldq uo;Maybe I can help you.”

&ldq uo;Perhaps.”

&ldq uo;Do you know where you parked it?”

&ldq uo;Uh . . . no.”

&ldq uo;That’s o.k. What kind of car is it?”

&ldq uo;I can’t remember.”

&ldq uo;Well, that’s all right, what color is it?”

&ldq uo;I . . . don’t . . . know.”

I try to explain, but he doesn’t stick around for long.

And, I? What do I do? Trying not to look too obvious, I begin to leisurely stroll the parking lot, pushing my grocery cart, enjoying the view, just taking my time.  Yup, it was so special.

Up one lane, and down the next.

Up one lane, and down the next.

Scanning every license plate frame, looking for one- just one- that says, “Burt Chevrolet, Rob Knuth”

Trust me.  It’s not easy driving a shiny new coupe, and pretending like it’s yours.

Lord, I Want to be Real
Mama almost died!


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