The ’97 clunker is gone, but in new car, Captain Worry is still the copilot

10/22/2013 12:00 AM

10/22/2013 2:06 PM

So we pulled the trigger on a new car. New for us anyway.

It’s a 2012 with 5,600 miles on it and it’s absolutely loaded with all kinds of fancy extras that I am still learning how to operate. I don’t even know exactly what Bluetooth is or what it’s supposed to do, let alone how to get it to work in my new car.

My old 1997 car might as well have been a Conestoga wagon for the technological jump I’m dealing with now.

But I’m looking forward to those heated seats come winter. And a sun roof? Yippee.

So you might think I would would be happy now. Especially if you read my last column and know how much I loathed shopping for a car and now have that crossed off the list of odious things to do.

But, I have to tell you, I hate driving it almost as much as I hated trying to find it in the first place.

It’s the worry thing. I was born to worry.

When you have something new and valuable you constantly fret that some terrible mishap is going to happen to it. And when you have a new car, something terrible can be as minor as the first scratch or dent.

Even with my aged, raggedy vehicle my wife mocked me for “driving like an old lady.”

Now with my new shiny wheels, if there is a kind of driver more slow and cautious than an old lady, I’m afraid I’m it. I apologize if you end up behind me in traffic.

Parking is no fun either. There are all those swinging car doors out there just waiting for a clean, new car to ding.

I’ve always considered those people with nice cars who angle them in to take up multiple spaces as selfish pinheads. Of course, as judgmental as I am, I’ve considered a lot of people as selfish pinheads. Yes, dog owner who doesn’t clean up after your animal, I’m talking to you.

But now I can understand the motivation of those sideways parking people. I don’t think I’ll ever do it myself, but I can understand what they’re thinking, even if they are pinheads.

I know it’s inevitable that this car will take its lumps, as they all do eventually.

At least the car’s interior has received its baptism of fire, courtesy of the chicken poop on my 8-year-old daughter’s shoe.

Don’t ask. It’s a long story.

But after that, a little mud from time to time won’t seem like such a big deal.

In case you are wondering, it’s a Mazda 3. They are supposed to be good, dependable vehicles that stay on the road for a long time.

We will see.

Since I only get a new car once every 15 or 16 years, I’ll just keep doing my over-cautious best to keep this one as nice as I can as long as I can.

And if you find yourself tailgating an old lady in a dolphin gray Mazda, please back off.

You’re making me worry.

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