Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kill The Rich.

Yuppie-mobile #2

So—we got a new car. A kinda fancy grown-up new car. Well, fancy for me anyway. I’ve only owned one car in my life. My grandparents bought me a car when I was 21 years old. It was a three year old Chevy Corsica. I drove it for another three years until I graduated from college and then I sold it and used the money to move to New York City. Before that, as a passenger, I had suffered through many of my mom’s hand-me-down automobiles. You know, the car that just barely runs, but needs special attention ie: the transmission slips between gears, the engine light never goes off, and only one of the front seat-belts works so you have to pull it across your chest with lightening speed whenever you see a cop cruiser. Needless to say, the idea of having a new car is totally foreign to me, let alone a fancy new car.

When FrenchBoy picked me up in Paris at the airport for the first time, the Alfa Romeo 147 was probably one of the nicest cars I had ever been in. The name even sounded fancy to me! And a year later when I became the primary driver of the Alfa, I did so with a heavy dose of trepidation. Now, fast forward four years to the day, not so very long ago, when one evening out of the clear blue sky FrenchBoy puffs up his chest and announces with absolute glee: “This weekend we’re going to order an Audi A4!”

Gulp.


Yuppie-mobile  #3



Luckily I had a few months while the car was being built to get used to the idea. But I’ll be honest with you. The day I went with French Father-in-law to pick it up, I was still scared. I mean really scared. I could barely sleep the night before.

But then something happened in my brain at the car dealership. Maybe it was all those new car fumes in the air, but as I signed the service agreement (Which was conveniently written in German, so for all I know I signed away my first born child.) I started to get all giddy. And then, the Car Dealer Dude handed me the keys. I accepted them graciously. I played it cool. But in my head I was screaming: “Holy holey sweet muther of the lord baby jesus. I just got me a dope-ass bran-new car!” (Note the mid-western liason on “bran-new”.) And then as soon as Car Dealer Dude's back was turned, I made a mad dash for the front door of the dealership and ran out into the ice-cold pissing rain to find my shiny new car waiting for me. Eventually Car Dealer Dude came out to meet me and explained how every knob and button worked. But five minutes after he was gone I had to run back into the dealership to find him because the first time he explained everything I hadn’t actual heard a thing he had said. I went all ADD while looking at all the shiny buttons. Finally, after the second explanation of everything, I turned on the car and, well, I drove my brand new car off the lot.

Yuppie-mobile #1


With the exception of the time I accidentally turned on the heated sets on a 30 degree day, every ride in this car has been an absolute pleasure. I’m not afraid to drive it, I’m not afraid to park it, and it purs like a kitten. I never thought I would say this about a car, but, I looooove this car. I love diving it, I love parking it. I love coming out of a store, looking for it in a sea of Peugots and Fiats in the parking lot, and then finding it. (A task made much easier by the huge Obama for president sticker on the back windshield.)

In fact there is nothing I don’t like about driving the A4--- except the way people look at me while I’m driving it. Mind you, women generally pay no attention, but men, especially grouchy middle aged men, seem particularly indignant when they see me pull up in the A4. Which brings me to the heart of the matter. The French hate the rich. They hate them, hate them, hate them, no mater the fact that no one can decide what constitutes “rich”. And let me clue you in on something--nothing inspires more suspicion in the old-school Frogs than an adorable little 30-something Black girl, easily young enough to be their daughter, rolling around in a tricked-out Audi.

Inside the Yuppie-mobile

You should see the daggers these old Toads shoot at me. You’d think I’d robbed a bank, their bank to be specific. Mind you these are probably the same connards who find new and creative ways to abuse the system and screw the French government out of money any chance they get while simultaneously complaining about how high their taxes are.

So what gives? I’ve already read 60 million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, but apparently I need a re-read to remind myself that their behavior is common if not normal. But still, I’d like to enjoy driving the only new car I’ve ever had in my life without that gnawing feeling that perhaps the locals are secretly plotting to guillotine me.

BONUS: Serious Brownie points for the first poster in comments who can translate the saying:
"Don't hate the player, hate the game." into French.

14 comments:

Samantha said...

Ha, I had the exact same experience in our BMW. I got all kinds of stares & nasty comments from French men. The funny thing was, it was an old Beemer, either a 94 or a 95, but it was in such good shape and was really classy-looking, so it looked a lot newer. Our neighbors thought we were uppity though and probably blamed me (the American) for being a bad influence. But damn, I loved that car - it rode like a dream!! So yay for shiny new cars!

Camille Acey said...

Ne detestez pas le joueur, detestez le jeu!

Camille Acey said...

BTW, sweeeeeeet ride!

Madame K said...

*handing Camille 100 brownie points*

Madame K said...

Sam- Funny, I remembered reading a post about the BMW you were gonna buy (before it got vandalized) on your old blog ages ago. I knew you'd understand!

Megan said...

Ooh, congrats!!
You could never have a car like that in Marseille though. Well, not unless you had your own garage.
It would be so banged up in about a month..
My goal is a Porsche in 10 years.

Madame K said...

Megan- Luckily we have a private garage and we never park it on the street when we're out. FrenchBoy makes me park in the bowels of the public parking garages---preferably next to a Porsche, because you know they won't let their door bang against yours when they open it.

caratime2 said...

Congrats on the new wheels. Sweet!

I had similar experiences here in Germany in the 90's when I was still rocking my Benz's. Friends dropped me off back at my car one evening after a night out. When I bounced over to my car and opened the door, this old lady look at me and said something about 'them' all coming over here and getting handed everything on a silver platter... And me working 60+ hour weeks in advertising!

Like you said: Don't hate the player...

Noreena said...

I absolutely love your writing style and will continue checking out your funny and witty blog. Much success!

Madame K said...

Caratime2- Yes, I'm a "them" as well.

Travel said...

Congratulations, great car! Isn't fun driving something really nice? We are double income no kids (dinks) with a Benz and a Cady in the garage (both paid for.) You only live once, enjoy it while you are here.

DG

dougphoto said...

sweet ride. And according to John McCain being rich is having 5 million dollars. Do you have your absentee ballet? Indiana is battle ground state this year.

Felicity said...

Congrats on your new car, it's hot!!!

kwerekwere said...

man, this post gives me memories.

my 16-year old self, floating around neuilly in my aunt's benz, knowing full well i had no driver's license, and then when i finally *did* get pulled over, took great care to speak only in english.

of course, i did understand the flics thought that i wasn't 18, and i was saying that i'm american and in america you can have a license at 16 [my age at the time] and the look of sheer rage on the flics' faces when my aunt did show up to the police station and started speaking to me in french -- after i had convinced them that i didn't speak it. [i quickly told her in spanish that she really needed to speak to me in english or spanish or they would be taking me away tout de suite...]

keep in mind, that this was five or six years before la haine, and i swear to god that if i had already been out, my cousin and i would have probably ended up like vinz and hubert. we lived in neuilly, but my cousin was too busy trying to "keep it real", so he was [and thus i was] often in clichy. ugh.

anyway, i'm reading your blog. i came here from ernest's page [fly brother]. i'll read more of your blog when my workload goes down.