This last weekend a new Hobbit movie called the Desolation of Smaug came out. I’m sure the box office numbers were enormous and the reviews were like, you know pretty good. It is this movie about a bitter place called Middle Earth and some engagement ring that a guy of less than average height was looking for and a dragon. I think there was also some caves involved along with a bunch of ships, some desolation and some Smaug. Speaking of Smaug, back in 2005, we had purchased a vehicle that we thought would be desolating smaug into the air for at least 10 years. While 10 years was a tail pipe dream, it did its best to intoxicate the air for as long as it did. Because its life was cut short by a transmission disaster, we didn’t get to go see this action adventure movie. Instead, we had our own adventure in which we would end an Odyssey and begin a Journey.
The first thing we encountered was the deep abyss of despair. We knew what we were getting into, but we had no choice. In order to achieve our goal, we needed to enter the strange darkness of the world wide web. It is there that the information trolls lived. We went in with questions for the trolls and instead of answers, we just got more questions.
“How much will our monthly payment be?” we would query.
“That depends. How badly do you want the heated seats?” they would jab back.
“How much will we get for a trade-in on our Honda Odyssey?” we threw into the abyss.
“How many miles has it driven? How much damage is there to the vehicle?” it shot right back.
The information trolls kept Dodging and moving. So much so that it pushed us into the Arena of Confrontation called the call dealership.
“Noooo! I’m not ready to face the demons!” I said out loud inside my head.
We pulled ever so gently into the arena, knowing that gladiators would be swarming us as soon as we touched the soil of the pavement. Sure enough, the four of us took a step and were immediately confronted by a gladiator, but not one that we expected. This wasn’t the classically built warrior, but a diminuative warrior, that kept saying, “Precioussss saving on the vehicles in our lot.” Instead of attacking he and his mighty crew used another more subtle technique. He walked us the Sea of New Cars and their Fancy Gadgetry. There were used cars in the lot, but we couldn’t see them through the sea of Sirius Satellite Radio, Heated seats and Push button car starters. It was too late to tie us up on the mast of our old car, or put wax in our ears. We had been Sirenized.
We woke up back on the sandy beach, memories of the price of the car erased, but the visions of extras still circling our heads like little Tweety Birds. We were temporarily safe from Car Salesman, but back into the abyss of How Much Can we Actually afjord. We used our long distance cry to contact another dealership with their other Siren of Decietfully Low Price but we countered him with “You’re too Far Away”, and went back to the arena that was closer by ready to face off with him, our sword of knowledge and leverage being upgraded, we went to face off with the original Gladiator.
“Give us the best prices in the land for each of these two vehicles and we will give you our decision!” we declared.
“We will muddle the prices around so you will be confused and need to test drive them!” he declared back.
“Fine, we will test drive them!” we said.
Clearly the higher priced one was a clear winner, but the lower priced was so relatively cheap. I asked the maiden of the kingdom if she could live without heated seats and leather. The reply, “….” was nothing, but the face clearly said what needed to be said. “Heavens no I can’t live without heated seats, are you crazy?” said her face. So, the dear wallet, which was empty already, would have to be remain empty for 60 months to come.
There was bartering to be done.
“We see you have good credit with the village, so will give you great financing. In fact, with your credit you could buy the whole arena!” they flattered.
“We will only pay 2 pence per cycle of days!” we cried.
“We will give 50 pence for your broken down Chariot, as long as long as you can deliver it to us in a fortnight!” they said.
And on and on we bartered. Finally a gentlemanly and lady handshake was made with Car Salesman. Only the account weasel left to Dodge, Dip, Duck, Dive and Dodge.
“Extend the warranty on your Chariot for 10 years more!” he cried.
“Well,…” the lady said.
“No!!!! We refuse your extended Chariot Protection!” I cried.
“Sign here then, and here and here and here and here and here and prick your finger as we will take 3/4 of your blood and all of your gold doubloons!” he cried.
Nightfall was upon us, and finally our Dodge Journey was ready to begin. We take in the new Chariot smell and revel in its heated seats.
But reality crashes down on us. Our Honda Odyssesy is not yet complete. If we are to get the 50 pence for the old warn down chariot, we must return, Odyssey in hand, no matter the condition, along with ourselves to the arena once more. It rattles, and roars, and freezes my hands with its non heated steering, trying with all its might to sabtogue the deal. 50 pence, but only if it returns.
Prayers are guided toward heaven. The Gods will allow for its return, but not without a fight.
The chariot rattles slowly into the space between two lines. Old reigns pulled out. Breath smoky in the sky, I run into the arena once more. I give them the reigns and the deed to the chariot. It is finished. The new era of the Dodge Journey begins. The Odyssey is over. A new Desolation of Smaug.
But remember, no story on the Bitter Blog ends happily ever after. The wallet will be empty for 60 more cycles.
Bitter Smaug Ben