On the Road Again

I spend a lot of time in rental cars, because I am on the road a lot for work. Usually, I end up in something incredibly exciting such as a Chevy Malibu or a Ford Fusion. This week, however, when I went to pick up my wheels, the agent said, “I have a Buick and a Mustang. Which would you like?”

I paused, looking over at both cars. They gleamed shiny and new under the lights of the parking garage. This was a tough one. Buick sort of means boring. And a Mustang? Cooler, but it was a 2-door.

“Hmmm,”  I said, thinking of having to shove my laptop and presentation bags and paperwork behind the front seat in a two door. “I have to drive a lot this week—going way up north in Maine—what do you think?” I asked him.

“It’s really up to you,” he said.

“Do they both have cruise”? I had been saddled with a Ford Focus without cruise control a few weeks ago, and that was not fun. Try driving from southern New Hampshire all the way to Moosehead Lake without it.

The rental agent nodded. “Yep, both have cruise.”

Still, I hesitated.

“Well,” he added, “the Buick has sat radio, and probably will be more comfortable. But the Mustang would be more fun!”

Well, that clinched it. “I’ll take the Buick,” I said.

“But the Mustang is a convertible!”

The guy raised his voice a little bit. He was 22, or worse, and clearly couldn’t imagine how someone who had half a brain could make a decision so ridiculous.

“A convertible”? I said. “It’s supposed to snow tomorrow”! And I threw my bags into the very practically dimensioned trunk of the Buick.

But as I drove away a few minutes later, I thought, when did I became someone who would rent a Buick and actually be happy about it?

At a conference last week, the keynote speaker shared a systems model of human personalities with the group. We ranked ourselves in attributes related to being a Thinker, Organizer, Nurturer, or Adventurer. I knew even before I wrote a single checkmark how I would come out. I’m an Organizer through and through. Maybe a touch of Nurturer, and a touch of Thinker, but in my pie chart, my biggest piece of pecan is my Organizer self. It’s a bit of a sickness.

So even when it came to renting a car, I organized in my head in a matter of moments all of the pros of the Buick: More comfortable seats with seatwarmers, sophisticated Intellilink system, awesome satellite radio, and probably even side airbags. The perfect car to drive 1,000 miles (if you are limited to $30 a day).

The Mustang? Cute! Maroon! Convertible! A good car to have when speeding down the Pacific Highway with the top down. Only we just hit a low of 25 degrees Farenheit and had our first snowfall, and oh—I live on the Atlantic.

Damn, I’m practical.

Kind of pathetic.

So, as I drove my son D. to school yesterday in my very practical but a-little-boring Buick, I asked him to help me set my favorites on the satellite radio. I could not seem to figure out how to do it (especially while driving). He said, enthusiastically looking at the Intellilink, “Is it a touchscreen?” I said, “Uh…I don’t think so,” but then watched him furiously tap to find the menu and start saving my favorite channels using his fingertip.

Geez, I’m getting old. That’s even worse.

The funny thing about the personality typing model is that not only am I an Organizer/Nurturer, but I guessed right off that my boyfriend is a Thinker/Organizer. When I asked my son D to look at the chart, in about three minutes, he rated himself as an Adventurer. He then added, “I don’t even know what half the words mean,” and when I offered to define them, he said, “That’s okay. I’m good.”

He doesn’t need detail. He’s spontaneous and creative enough not to care. Thank goodness. We have enough organizing and thinking going on in the household already. A little adventure is a good thing.

D., who’s used to my rental cars now, asked me how I ended up with a Buick. “Where’s the Impala, or Malibu”? I told him the story about picking the car.

“Hmmm,” he said. “I would have chosen the Mustang.”