How’s your summer panning out so far, dear reader? Mine already feels booked up, what with cataract surgery for both eyes (now half-completed but fully enjoyable), a big anniversary, and at least one major purchase that’s been taking a lot of my time. That would be a used car for our collegiate daughter, who drives a Honda Civic that’s old enough to vote and has started acting its age.
We’re talking serious money here for a decade-old car. In case you haven’t noticed, the used car market has gone into overdrive. I heard that 30% of last month’s uptick in inflation can be laid to used cars. I used to get decent automobiles for between $2.5K and 3.5K from private sellers. No longer. Now, not even 5K will now buy a reliable rust bucket in and around the Boston metro area. I’m told that it’s due to pandemic-related supply chain problems, especially shortages of semiconductor components, which new cars guzzle by the truckload. When customers can’t get a new car without waiting months and months, they start looking for pre-owned ones, and that jacks up prices for all of them. The car I expected to get for $4-5K now costs $5-7K. And many are come-ons (“Sorry, we sold that one yesterday”) from guys you don’t want to go near named Bob. Why wasn’t I taking care of this six months ago? Simple: Because my kid’s car wasn’t complaining yet and I wasn’t thinking ahead.
That upcoming anniversary, just three weeks off, marks when Aygül and I were wed on my mother’s back porch in Connecticut 25 years ago to applause scattered across two continents. (Skype and Zoom had yet to be invented.) The ensuing decades have demonstrated that we were as right for one another as we were wrong about the other. In our wedding speeches we went on and on about how much alike we were, only to discover that, though we share certain stripes of idealism, in an emotional and situational sense we experience and react to events quite differently. We can be ornery about human folly and with each other at the same time. A little while later all, if not forgotten, is forgiven.
I’m not knocking idealism (which has kept us going and fuels our purposeful daughter too), but I’ve noticed that as time goes by it tends either to petrify into sanctimoniousness or curdle into cynicism, neither of which we wish to slip into. And so, we shall commemorate our blessed union at the alter of lost causes.
We hope to celebrate within striking distance of Boston on an excursion that will leave some lasting memory traces. It could be at a Manhattan hotel, an overnight train trip to DC, or visit in Burlington VT, where our daughter resides and hotels charge NYC rates. I guess we could go camping, but it’s gotten as iffy to reserve a campsite in a state park as to nab a hotel room. Anyway, it would probably rain, not to mention contracting Triple-E or Lyme Disease.
Then there’s our favorite luxury hotel, the Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, NH. We’ve stayed there four or five times, but since our last visit in 2013, things have changed at the Omni Hotel Group that runs it. Having doubled room rates, they now entice you to buy extra check-in or check-out time at $75 an hour. Now, a two-day stay costs about $35 an hour after factoring in the $180 in taxes and fees that top off the bill. What’s that about if not corporate greed? And yet, it’s almost fully booked by well-heeled guests possibly on expense accounts. So it looks like we’ll travel three hours by car to stay in a cartel. The things we do for love.
This is where nostalgia and idealism hit the shredder. The price for nurturing precious memories turns out to be all that late capitalist markets can bear. But what the hell, why not go for a luxury suite when we’ll soon be wealthy? I’m talking about $2M the UN has promised me as compensation for being scammed online. The sender, Mrs. Shelly Weiss of Charterd (sic) Finance & Securities, doesn’t say what scam qualified me, only to act right away by wiring a moneygram to their agent in Ilion NY to cover in bank fees. At $300, that’s still cheaper than a hotel room. I just had to share her poetic proposition with you before running off to Western Union:
SCAMMED VICTIM/REF/PAYMENTS CODE: CF&sc/02354 $2,000,000.00 USD.
You are advice to forward your contact details to me immediately to enable
us proceed and pay your compensation fund to you, such as your name,
address, phone numbers, and country of origin.
I am every sorry for your lost and I want you to know that our company
as always send a notification letter to all our customers regarding
the scam and it pains me that you are one of them but I want you to
know that in life if you aspire to acquire the desire you acquire then
you fire and it backs fire, don’t retire but to acquire the desire you acquire.
I want you to know that God has bland for us, I believe that your time
has come and also note that you are not paying any money to Nigeria or
Benin Republic you are to send your delivery fee to the United State
Of America with this address giving to you below.
So be wise because your time has come.
Gee, it’s almost as if Mrs. Weiss knew we were about to splurge on an upscale weekend. I will thank her profusely after we collect our compensation.
So what are you doing this summer now that the pandemic pall is lifting? Exploring new frontiers or just catching up to where you were 18 months ago? Give us a shout.
Love, tolerance, health, peace,
P.S. This month I wrapped up the sixth revision of my novel Her Own Devices, which I’m unloosing on indie publishers. If you’d like a nice summer read, there’s still time to read it online, offer feedback, and for your trouble receive a free copy of the book when it’s published. Simply reply to this letter if you’re interested.
From Perfidy Press Provocations, a quasi-monthly newsletter
To subscribe to future issues, follow this link. It’s free, with no obligation.