Monday, June 18, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on December 11th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 40

God rest ye merry gentleman

Ariel's boys just gotta have car toys


It’s beginning to feel quite festive here at Waterman Manor. December is always a busy month for us, with our grandson’s birthday, Hanukkah, and Christmas filling our days and shopping lists.

My husband, The Brit, has been recovering from recent surgery that would not be standard procedure for him if it did not bear complications. It did. Several hospital and transitional care stays—following fevers, elevated cardiac enzymes, and low white blood cell counts—later he is finally home. At last, we have resumed service as usual.

Our grandson, Britween, is now 12. His birthday came right on the heels of Hanukkah this year and, what with birthday cake, latkes, and Christmas fudge, it’s been doggone difficult to stick to a diet! Even the doggone dog is getting fat, and now that sad-eyed, mooching, furry little fart factory has gone from being a shih-tzu to a “Sheesh! Phew!”

Holiday gift shopping for me is like a race with the devil. No sooner have I found the perfect birthday present than it’s time to wrap up eight Hanukkah treats, then run to the Black Friday sales, and troll Amazon for Christmas gifts. Now some might say just buy one gift and call it a “BirthHanuChristmas” present.

But I know several people who have December birthdays and were given such gifts, while everyone else in their families received a present for each event because they were born during the other 11 months. Those recipients of so-called “BirthHanuChristmas” presents often felt somewhat glossed over, and I can understand why. Birthdays are events to be celebrated on their own, no matter what time of year they fall. Mine always fell during Lent. I was a Catholic kid who gave up sweets for Lent, but Mom always told me that God gives special Lenten birthday dispensations to allow for birthday cake.

Speaking of Mom, we recently found ourselves in need of a new car. You may ask what does my mother have to do with new cars? I will explain.

I dread car shopping more than a colonoscopy, mammogram, and root canal put together in one torturous procedure. But the Brit and Britween love car shopping. These are the same two people who have to be dragged to a clothing or shoe store, belly-aching all the way about how long it will take, which is never more than an hour or two. Car shopping, however, takes hours and days and there’s nothing to look at but automotive magazines.

An automobile is, for me, a means of transportation that I require to be reliable and safe.

I don’t require, need, or even want bells and whistles. But apparently the men in my house must have them, and the more they have the merrier my gentlemen are. After all, men don’t live by bread alone. They must have techno-toys.

The Brit immediately asked our salesman if the shiny red car he wanted had a navigation system and an outside temperature indicator. If you want to know what the outside temperature is, I told him, do what I do: Roll down the window and stick your head outside.

As for a navigation system, we already have one in the old car and it can be transferred to the new one. It’s called a map. If that fails to work for him, I suggested that the Brit do what any sensible woman, like me, does: stop and ask for directions.

Other tech options include an iPod dock so our Britween can play tunes by his favorite music artists. These include One Direction, Maroon 5, and Big Time Rush. Together they sound more like what happens when his Granddad refuses to stop and ask for directions. We go in One Direction, Maroon 5 hours away from our planned destination, and end up in a Big Time Rush!

The Brit was thrilled with the rear-view camera. Now this is a man who has yet to figure out how to program the television remote or who, for that matter, will not stop and ask for directions. I found the camera disconcerting, like watching a TV show while driving. So I prefer to go old school and use the tried and true technology of a rear-view mirror.

Husband’s choice of auto also comes with Sirius radio. I checked out its offerings and found an all-Elvis station (very cool, I thought), BBC World News (bloody brilliant, thought The Brit), and various pop music stations (so awesome, thought Britween).

There’s something for everyone, and I do mean everyone. Sirius also offers a few Canadian stations, ’ay! But wait, there’s more! I even found a French country and western music station. Siriusly! What are those songs like? How about, “Saddle up Le Creuset, mon cheri, I’m riding the range tonight!” Or “My exes are all in Nantes,” or perhaps, “I love driving in my pick-coup, merci beaucoup!”

What’s not to like about what has now become our shiny new car? Well, for starters, it has a voice-command Bluetooth option enabling me to keep both hands on the steering wheel while talking on the phone. But every time the phone rings it interrupts whatever music is playing, cutting off my drive-time soundtrack. I don’t use the cell phone while driving and never, ever text, so I used to be able to postpone taking The Brit’s calls with the excuse that I was driving and could not answer the cell phone.

There goes that small luxury!

Then there is the voice of the car, and that’s where Mom figures in. The voice is a female one, and quite succinct, almost terse. “Say a command,” she commands me. When I ask directions, she pointedly tells me, “Go straight two blocks. Turn right. Turn left. Do the hokey pokey then turn the car around.” Yeah, that’s what this is all about. It’s like driving around with my mother. “Buckle up. Sit up straight. Eyes on the road. Hands at 2 and 10. Pay attention, there’s a stop sign ahead.”

I did ask our salesman if there were other options for the voice, but no. And darn it all, there should be. I want it to sound like Antonio Banderas. Imagine that: “Hello, beautiful lady. I am yours to command. Let me take you places where you long to go. Just drive me to the next intersection—ah, such a sexy intersection. There, my love! Turn left there. Yes, there it is, a shop filled with fresh doughnuts just for you. Oh, sooo deleeceeous!”

Now that’s an option I’d pay good money for!


Ariel Waterman thanks Rafael Roy at Santa Maria Nissan Mazda for hearing her out while fulfilling her boys’ car toy dreams. Send maps and doughnuts via her editor, Ryan Miller, at

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