THERE WAS A time when people did not talk about these things, but I am not ashamed to admit that I have a male chromosome disorder. I have the XY combination, but I am missing the XE. That’s the one that enables you to distinguish between different makes and models of cars.
When it comes to vehicles, I have pretty much zero interest and even less knowledge. My idea of car maintenance is to count the wheels: one, two, three, four, and one in each corner? Great, off we go…
My level of auto awareness is best illustrated, perhaps, by a recent exchange between my wife, Marcia, and me as we drove somewhere in our nearly 10-year-old car, which we were considering replacing. The process had involved a series of spirited conversations in which I had at least tried to show willing.
Marcia: We could look at an Accord.
Me (enthusiastically): Sure. Have you ever driven one?
Marcia (after a lengthy, somewhat awkward pause): Umm, you’re sitting in one, sweetheart.
That was news to me. I was confident that the car we had was white and had four wheels, one conveniently in each corner, and had a vague sense that it might have been Honda-ish, but beyond that… well, what do you know?
Time was when I used to try to hide this apparent developmental lack. I’d watch the popular British TV series, Top Gear, in bewilderment, wondering why people could get so excited about torque and horsepower. When someone spoke approvingly about the new shape of the latest “fill-in-the-blank,” I’d murmur agreement, hoping they didn’t ask me what I liked about it better over the previous version.
The reasons for this missing gene are unclear. It may have something to do with growing up with a dad who may have known even less about cars than I do. I mean, over the years I have actually replaced a blown-out bulb or two and even changed a flat tire on occasion. Another factor may be that I’ve never been in the position to go out and buy a really fancy car, so what’s to get all worked up about?
Whatever the cause, these days I am comfortable enough with who I am and who I am not that I don’t feel the need to worry about whether a car is an CE, XE, XLE, or SE. Given that the difference between these models is often the trim, maybe my condition should better be called a chrome disorder? Regardless, the only letters I am interested in when it comes to a car are A and B, and that it gets me between the two.
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