Lap of Luxury

Yesterday I treated myself to a nice massage for Mother’s Day. It was long-overdue and much needed. I’d been walking around NYC last weekend with my Kate Spade backpack purse overstuffed with things like two folding umbrellas, which were small, but took a toll on my lower back. Kate Kate Spade backpackSpade’s all about fashion. She doesn’t give a plaid turd about good support for one’s back. Sadly, I found this out the hard way.

So, anyway, the kids had various activities at the Y, and Manfrengensen took them in my car because it’s bigger, the family car, the one that can afford all the booster seats and such. It’s a good car, surely the nicest one I have ever had. It’s a safe car, but a bit of a behemoth. It goes from zero to sixty in like forty-seven-point-five seconds.

Manfrengensen, on the other hand, drives a cute little sporty model. It’s so fast, that when I put my foot on the gas as a light turned green, the force sent my travel mug flying, and I had to pull over to sop up all the coffee that had pooled on his empty passenger seat. I took the back way, hugging the curves and enjoying the ride. It’s really fun to drive.

It got me thinking about my first luxury car. I’d always driven utilitarian vehicles, things that to quote my grandmother, “got me from A to B.” When I was pregnant with Clooney, we’d needed to get a bigger car, because my little Corolla couldn’t comfortably accommodate the two baby seats. It turned out at the time that my brother-in-law was looking to get rid of his Nissan Maxima, which was only a couple of years old, fully loaded, and had low miles. He gave us a great deal, and so we took it.

At first, I didn’t feel comfortable in the car. It was longer than anything I had previously driven, but what really threw me off was being ensconced in the leather. I’d never had leather seats before. That and all the bells and whistles were, for me, a bit disconcerting. I know it sounds crazy, but I was really stiff driving the thing. Hands at ten and two at all times, shock straight in the front seat.

Le PewThen one day, I dropped the kids off at my mother-in-law’s and went to meet my husband for lunch. I took the back way, winding along the river, new green leaves above me, sunlight winking here and there. I thought yes, this is a nice drive. And this is a nice car. I like this car. I deserve this car. And just as I had that thought, the car that was a few yards in front of me hit a fresh skunk carcass on the center line and the thing went FLYING. I watched it, like it was all happening in slow motion. The skunk’s scent sack split open, and the liquid made an arc in the air that landed all over the driver’s side of my new ride’s hood, windshield and fender.

Do I need to tell you it was the worst smell ever? I ran it through several car washes, scrubbed it with my own brushes, tried everything. It was months before the smell really subsided, and even then, on a random hot day, the ghost of the smell came haunting.


I have leather seats now, because let’s face it, once you have leather seats, you can never go back. But I do think this story illustrates my core belief that you can never take whatever you are lucky enough to have for granted.