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National Editorials & Columns

New wheels

I have a Starbucks drive-thru nemesis.

I’ve been in line directly behind her four times, despite my going to Starbucks infrequently. I would guess that she lives in her car on a perpetual Starbucks drive-thru loop if it weren’t for the fancy car that she revs every time we move forward, the fancy rock on her finger that glitters as she makes obscene gestures and the fancy chin implant that she juts out as she berates the employee taking orders for never putting enough ice in her half-caf, nonfat iced vanilla latte with a shot of sugar-free hazelnut.

I hate this woman. But despite my hatred, it was her rearview mirror scoff at my crumbled car bumper — holding on for dear life from my car accident a few weeks ago — that finally motivated me to take my Subaru to the shop.

The car is still there. So far, it has needed a week’s worth of repairs, and it will probably need another week. For some inexplicable reason, it didn’t occur to me that I would need to leave my auto overnight. When Dave from Enterprise came to pick me up, I required eight bags to help me remove the jackets, sippy cups, toys and script pages from my car — not to mention the car seat and base. The items just barely squeezed into his trunk.

When we arrived at Enterprise, Dave showed me around the lot, pointing out the different cars I could rent. I told him that my insurance would cover only up to $30 a day and that I wanted the cheapest car available. But Dave wasn’t having it. He leaned in, gave me his best smile and said, “You look like the kind of lady who should be behind the wheel of a Chevy Tahoe.”

I have no idea what that means, but I’m confident I’m insulted by it.

No offense to the vehicle itself. My other car is a Chevrolet, and I’ve heard Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place to visit, as long as you stay clear of the rabid squirrels. But whatever it was that Dave saw in me that screamed Chevy Tahoe, I’m guessing it had nothing to do with crystal-blue waters.

I’m not new to the idea of defining yourself by your vehicle.

My whole life, I obsessed over Jeep Wranglers, until I got the manual two-door soft-top of my dreams 10 years ago. I named him Todd, and I loved him. More than loving the Jeep itself, I loved what it said about me. That I was ready for adventure. That I could break the rules, go rogue and off-road at any moment. While I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on my way to the office, Todd kept me connected to the more adventurous person of my past.

When it was time to sell Todd, I decided to commemorate our love by paying a photographer to take pinup-girl pictures of me washing the Jeep. Slight issue: I was seven months pregnant at the time. I explained to the burlesque photographer that I needed pictures with Todd before I had to sell him for a more family-friendly vehicle. For some odd reason, the photographer never called me back.

Now here I was with a broken family car, getting swindled to spend more money by renting a big vehicle. I told Enterprise Dave about my beloved Todd. He replied that the place doesn’t carry any Jeeps but said there were a few minivans.

Forehead slap.

Suddenly, the $30-a-day limit was thrown out the window as I scanned the parking lot, determined to show obnoxious Enterprise Dave the kind of car this little lady should be sitting behind the wheel of.

I picked my rental: an ice-blue Lexus hybrid.

I sat smugly in the driver’s seat as Dave moved my bags and car seat into my Lexus.

“Anything else you need?” Dave asked.

“Just the keys,” I snorted, giving attitude from my hurt ego. “You only gave me the beeper.”

Dave smirked, leaned in over me and pushed a button with the word “POWER” on it. The ignition turned on. My ears turned red. Oops.

Over the week, the Lexus and I bonded. I was feeling good about how my rental defined me when I saw my nemesis in line at the Starbucks drive-thru. She had just finished accosting the employee and was pulling forward, when I noticed something upsetting: We were driving the same car.

Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at Check out her column at To find out more about Katiedid Langrock and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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