I know that all marriages have their ups and downs, but after twenty-three years of wedded bliss, something’s changed. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but my wife has been distant lately, seems preoccupied with something, and we just don’t seem as close as we once were. We used to hold hands, as we took long walks, discussed our future over morning coffee, and laughed together at some of the silliest things. I know her work has been stressful, we have a new grandchild that takes up a lot of our time, and I’ve had some health issues over the past year, but this is something different. It’s like I lost my best friend.
I’ve racked my brain to try to narrow down the time things began to change. The only thing that makes sense, is for some reason, it all started around the time she bought her brand new, 2017 Ford Escape SE Titanium. It seems crazy to me, but sometimes, as soon as she gets home from work, she’ll change clothes, jump in her escape, and disappear for hours at a time. I have no idea, where she goes, or what she does. She’ll often come home hours later with her face flushed, and an empty tank of gas. I know it’s not the man who sold her the car. No, it couldn’t be. Besides, he was at least eighty, used a walker, and as he talked, his dentures would pop in and out of his mouth.
The other night in desperation, I asked her if she would like to talk, order some fresh sushi, cuddle for hours, and maybe watch her favorite romantic movie, “Dirty Dancing,” with Patrick Swayze. I also proposed that we watch “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts, and Richard Gere. I even volunteered to put on a tailored three-piece suit, pretend I was an extremely handsome and successful billionaire, and sweep her off her feet.
She told me she couldn’t, because Burt was due for his five-thousand-mile checkup, he needed to be washed after the recent storm, and she had just seen the nicest set of gray floor mats at Walmart. After a quick peck on the check, and a hurried goodbye, she was out the door. Soon, I heard the roar of a powerful engine, and looked out the window to witness an empty driveway, and a lingering cloud of dust. At least, I now have a name, in my battle for my wife’s time and affections. I knew it. It was – that brand-new car. Darn that Burt!
This past Saturday morning, I got up early and decided to take a closer look at my new competition. I think it would be easier to understand and accept, if I were faced with a flesh and blood man, with a few faults and imperfections. I would have a better chance of regaining my wife’s time and attention, if the competition was between me and some guy without the history, my wife and I have shared.
As I walked out into the driveway, I slowly circled, a little under thirty-five hundred pounds of high strength steel and aluminum, in concert with environmentally friendly, sustainable, recycled and renewable materials. I was looking at the latest in American know-how and cutting-edge technology. I had to admit that Burt was one handsome devil. His silver body was polished to a shimmering shine, which reflected the rays of a magnificent sunrise, as it rose above the distant hills. He was almost as tall as me, long, sleek, and seemed to be all fine lines and contours. Hey, wait a minute. Are those 18” ultra-bright, machined, aluminum wheels? I’ve always dreamed of having those.
As I tentatively opened the driver’s side door, and slipped inside, I leaned back and relaxed on a sturdy, but unbelievably soft, leather-trimmed bucket seat. I turned on the motor, and heard the gentle roar of a finely tuned, smooth, yet powerful 1.5-liter Eco Boost engine with 179, available horsepower. I had plenty of leg room as I stretched out, and reached for the 10-speaker audio system by Sony. I was instantly surrounded from all sides by a flawless speaker system. As Bruce Springsteen belted out his classic song, “Born to Run,” I imagined racing down a mountain road with my worries behind me, and the thrill of what unexpected adventure lay just around the next bend.
I took a minute to look at Burt’s interior. It was smooth, gray, and unmarked by even a single imperfection. Yes, he was extremely attractive, but there had to be more to him than just his good looks. I reached out, turned the air conditioning to max, and dialed the fan up to the highest setting. Within seconds, a burst of air engulfed me that was so cold, I quickly rolled down the window to keep from being frozen solid.
Opening, the nearby glove compartment, I took out the owner’s manual, and soon understood that I had my work cut out for me. Burt was not only dependable and good-looking, but even though he had size and power, he still got an impressive 22 mpg city, and 28 mpg highway.
My nemesis had features, I could only dream about. I read of: dual-zone electronic automatic climate control, a heated, and ergonomically designed steering wheel, enhanced active park assist, forward collision warning with brake assist, a touchscreen navigation system, and……and……. What the heck! It says that Burt has “intelligent” all-wheel drive. This is getting worse by the minute. How can I compete with something like this? No wonder she’s smitten by Burt. Not only does he look good, but he has brains too! If I wasn’t so upset and angry, I might just take the son of a gun for a cruise around the neighborhood, and maybe hit the local Dairy Queen for some ice cream.
Over the next few days, I pondered my next move. My wife was gone for longer and longer periods of time. We barely spoke, and saw each other infrequently. I noticed that Burt was always washed and polished, and was now getting regularly serviced every three thousand miles. I was lucky to get a quick kiss, and an atta boy for doing six hours of yard-work, four loads of laundry, and a weeks-worth of shopping.
I had a tough decision to make, but I think it’s best for both of us. I didn’t want to do it, and it wasn’t easy, but my wife forced my hand. I just got back from my local Ford dealer, and I want all of you to meet Sally. Pretty hot, huh? Listen to that motor purr. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about a road trip. Now, if you would excuse me; I think Sally needs some new, light blue floor mats, a nice thorough bath at the car wash, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get that ice cream.