I knew the test drive of the speedy, stylish Hyundai Sonata wasn’t going well when I saw my wife, who was sitting in the passenger seat, pounding her fists on her headrest and making noises like she was being throttled from the back seat like Luca Brasi.
“What’s the matter?,” I asked as I brought the car to a stop.
“This damn headrest is pushing my head forward and giving me a headache,” she complained. “I can’t ride around for the next ten years with a crooked neck and a headache.”
We keep our cars for a long time. “But we’ve only gone around the block,” I whined.
Kathie is usually a gamer, but this seemed to be really giving her a problem.
I was crushed. I REALLY liked this car and I sensed that this was a game changer.
As we rolled into the dealership, Frank, the affable, overweight salesman, was waiting in the driveway. “Whatya think?,” he asked clearly expecting good news.
“The passenger side headrest gives her a headache,” I responded. “I think it’s a deal breaker.”
“Huh?,” he asked, his rubbery face contorting in stunned confusion. “But they are all like that,” he explained. “It’s a new Federal safety regulation.”
I can occasionally understand why conservatives get fed-up with government over-regulation, and I for one can’t understand why Obama wants us all driving around with our heads between our legs.
Frank, however, was not about to let this sale go quietly into the afternoon. “Let’s try adjusting the seat back,” he suggested.
With Kathie on board he gradually lowered the back of the seat until she pronounced that her head was comfortable. Unfortunately, by the time this was accomplished, she was in a three-quarter supine position.
“There!,” Frank shouted, sure the problem was solved and now the haggling could begin.
“I can’t ride around on my back. I’ll get car sick and I can’t knit,” my wife complained.
“Try rolling on your side,” he suggested.
Turning to me, the creative salesman asked: “Do you have a vise.”
“I drink too much and smoke cigars. What of it?,” I replied.
“No a VISE. You can put the prongs of the headrest in the vise and gradually bend them back; or you can rest the prongs on the pavement and hit them with a hammer.”
I had to admire his persistence, but a withering glance was my only response.
“Do YOU have this problem in the passenger seat?,” he asked me.
I said that, since I am a shrunken old man whose head slumps forward naturally, it was not an issue for me.
“Great! Then let her drive!,” Frank shot back, convinced this was a Eureka moment.
Still, our expressions told him that there was no way around the forward-thrusting headrest and he quietly slumped back into the showroom.
We continued on to the Subaru dealer. The salesman seemed surprised that the first question we asked pertained to the orientation of his product’s headrests. He confirmed that those on the Subaru also slant forward.
“I have only seen this as a problem for people with pony-tails,” he said.
While it was obvious that Kathie does not have a pony-tail, he seemed to be examining the back of her head to see if there was some sort of bony projection that might be contributing to her discomfort.
We had now both lost our enthusiasm for car shopping and returned home.
Later that evening, our son called to ask how we liked the Sonata. “We loved it, but the headrest gave your mother a headache,” I gloomily responded.
“I’m not surprised,” he said.