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5 A New Deal “Who says we need a new car now, right now, today?” For her a car was transportation, nothing more. “This wreck burns oil, and the warranty’s expired.” “Why not renew it?” “I want a new car pronto, this minute—end of discussion.” It was election day plus one. The whole country had swung to the right. He felt betrayed. “I’ll never understand,” she said, crossing her fingers, “why men and cars are just like that.” He drove on automatic pilot, tallying the radio returns from Maine to Texas through the whole catastrophe. “Your mind is always elsewhere when you drive, and that’s not safe.” “The country’s gone to hell, and all you talk about is me, me, me.” “I’m not married to the country.” He turned the radio knob a click. More tallies, more defeats . . . He switched to the golden oldies. 6 “If you’re set on getting a car, I hope the color is puce.” “Nobody makes a puce car.” “What about lavender with cream appointments?” He looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” embalmed him in a sulk. For just that long he thought of times when cars were only black, blue, or gray, and lavender described a sunset or a dress, and politics made his kind of sense. “All right,” she said, “I’ll take apache red with pink leather.” That made him mad enough to spit. He inched the window down, turned halfway to his left and spat all over his chin. Hearing her laugh, he tried to stay quite serious. “Not funny,” he said but found himself laughing along with her, and neither could stop. Later they laughed themselves giddy as drunks each time they brought it up if politics was in the news or not. They kept the car. ...


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MARC Record
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