Once there was a Penelope,
who had herself a Cadillac.
But Penelope's Cadillac was getting pretty old, and since it was a mind-bogglingly complex old car, with three - count 'em; three - separate fuse boxes, and no fewer than 1.6 jillion things that could go wrong with it at any time (from the auto-dimming electrochromatic side-view mirror to the auto-leveling hydraulic voodoo rear suspension), and since some of these small things had already begun to go wrong (like the climate-control system which no longer controlled the climate and the window motor which sometimes went fast and sometimes went ag...onizing...ly slow), Penelope realized that her old Cadillac might soon become very, very expensive. So she started thinking about getting a different car.
Her husband, Colin
said he would keep a lookout for something suitable.
"No more old-man cars," said Penelope, gesturing toward the Cadillac, and Colin said "Okay."
"Our car looks like an old, fat man," she pointed out, tracing the basic shape with her fingertips, from the small roof down around the bulging belly and down to the tiny tirefeet. "No good."
Right away Colin found a car he thought would be perfect: it was more maneuverable than the Cadillac, and took up less space in the garage, and got better fuel economy.
Lope said, "Nope."
"Okay," said Colin, and started to look for something bigger. It wasn't long before he found something:
"Double nope!" said Lope, and accused this second vehicle of looking like "dorky dumb trash-rump." Colin's feelings were a little hurt. He pointed out that it offered excellent fuel economy, and would fit in the garage - he measured - and that he'd always wanted a car he could stand up in. "Honey..." he reasoned. "It would be fun. We could get Mercedes emblems for the hood and tailgate, and trick people who care about that sort of thing into thinking we're rich eccentrics. Or we could do Freightliner emblems - they've got those too - and people can think we're just eccentric eccentrics. Either way is cool."
Still, though, Colin pretty much knew he should just keep looking. What they both really wanted, of course, was a car that was the opposite of the Cadillac - big on the inside; little(ish) on the outside. Efficient, with good gas mileage and a clean-running engine. (They'd both been feeling bad about the coolant leak in the Cadillac.) Something with cargo space for Penelope's paintings - and for
Something reliable, or at least easy to work on. Something comfy. Fun to drive. And yes, something that looked at least a little bit cool. (Colin felt that his earlier suggestions met all these criteria nicely, but he wisely kept silent.)
"Maybe one of these..."
Lope said maybe.
And then they went to the Saturn dealership and drove one - a Vue FWD V6, actually, and Lope said, "Whoa!"
So then Colin pointed out that in addition to having more room than the Cadillac, and yet fitting into the garage better, and being as fast as the Cadillac, and yet getting better gas mileage, the Vue was certified as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. Plus Vince could have his very own door.
And that was pretty much that. They went to a Chevrolet dealer to try out the Equinox, which is built on the same basic chassis as the Vue, but it wasn't as smooth and the salesman was a buttwipe, so that narrowed it down all the way. The Saturn dealer agreed to take the Cadillac, and paid more than Colin and Penelope had expected to get as a trade-in, even though it leaked coolant and the heat didn't work.
Then they just had to pick a color (they agreed on White, the opposite of their perpetually dirty black Cadillac) and options (Colin wanted the 17" wheels; Penelope wanted a sunroof). The dealership was very nice and ordered the Vue they wanted, and one day Colin and Penelope got a call, saying, "Your car is here." They went and signed many papers and inspected their Vue to make sure it was perfect, and drove it out of the showroom while all the salespeople stood by and clapped. They really did that.
Then Colin and Penelope proceeded to drive it 400 miles to Chicago and back in one day, and then got it absolutely filthy plowing through the seven inches of snow that fell on Indianapolis in the second week of December. It did fine. They drove their friends around in it and showed it off, pointing out the special input jack for the iPod on the dashboard and the cool-but-sort-of-freaky voice-dialing built-in telephone feature, and everyone was impressed. They bought bungee cords to hold things down in the back in case they need to move stuff, and they set all the radio presets to stations they liked - including the one that plays all Christmas music this time of year.
Their car had everything they'd hoped it would have, including heat. At last, Colin and Penelope were satisfied and content.
At least until Mid-Spring 2006, when Saturn came out with this:
Once there was a Penelope,