Blue Book Glam (formerly named Broken Down Glam)

How not to take care of out of town guests.

Dressed in black tie best, my girlfriend sat in the back seat with her husband beaming in a brand new dress. The Red Baron steered our vintage black sedan (we affectionally call U-571, a boat-looking submarine that tends to seek out deep water) into the lengthy valet line at the convention center. Since our guests arrived just a few short hours before, the inside of our vehicle echoed with a catch-up, chat-a-thon. Amongst the ‘how are the kids’ and ‘whats new since we saw you last’ I looked over at my husband.  His face appeared desperate as he frantically shoved the gear shifter forward and back. “Everything okay?” I asked in my best diplomatic tone even though I knew trouble brewed ahead. “Everyone lean forward,” he yelled over the clamor. Without thinking we all slid forward to the edge of our seats. “I’ve got the gas pedal floored and we’re barely moving.” he levered forward and hugged the steering wheel. I glanced at the dash’s electronic message screen and read “transmission failure. ”

We sucked in a community deep breath to no avail. “Jump out and help me push,” my husband barked. Within a second I was out the door. Now I know what you’re thinking– not in a gown and four inch heels. No need to worry, I was prepared, packing a pair of roll-up flats in my clutch. I kicked off my shoes and slipped on the ballet slippers. After a quick grunt, I bent over, straightened my arms and pushed. After a few heave-hoes, we angled into a lot that clearly stated “Unauthorized violators will be towed.”  Some mystery mechanical torpedo sank the sub.

*Question from my mother: So you just abandoned the car without calling a tow truck? Well, the short answer was yes. After all, cocktail hour was nearly over.

*Question from my friends: What happened to your dress? Although I’m embarrassed to say, (caught with my pants down) my duct tape roll was too large for my evening bag and since the gown was tailored for high-heels, the bottom was trashed. (frayed, gooed, covered in road rash) Luckily for me, mostly on the inside.

*Answers from the dealer: (Yes, the car got towed.) The U-boat needed a new transmission. Eight thousand big-ones.

*Research  from my husband: Apparently the trade in value for a non-running vehicle is just about zero. A goose egg.  He explained the Blue Book categories most value to least:

Excellent–lightly driven, just like new–Not us.

Good-no mechanical problems and very minor cosmetic repairs required–Nope.

Medium–some known mechanical problems and cosmetic defects–Sort of a stretch.

Poor–running…That already knocks us out.

You’re luck if we comp the towing-ding,ding, ding–the sub has finally found a home.


E.L. Chappel author of Risk/Spirit Dance

Sitting next to a very happy (car shopping) husband

aka the Glamorous Wife

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