Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

After a summer full of car trouble, Flat 493 decided that while we had fixed all the major engine issues on my adorable little 2003 Golf, due to my semi-lengthy commute (in central NC terms, not D.C. ones!) it was time to find something a little more secure. 

To narrow down alllllllll the used car options, I looked primarily at USAA

(Fun fact: Hampton used his family connections to USAA’s discount auto insurance and loans and local state employee credit union banking rates as a reason why we should get married. What a romantic.)

Stereotypes being what they are, I assumed USAA, aka the United Services Automobile Association, serving service members and their families, would have mainly big ol’ pickups and minivans.

I was wrong. 

While I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of newer Fits and Yarises (Yari?) and other subcompacts in our price range, Hampton told me to look at some older Priuses. 

The last time I bought a nine-year-old used car with 90,000 miles, I ran into… this summer, so that was the last thing I wanted to do. Even if when I met Hampton he had a 15-year-old Camry that was sold four years later with over 250,000 miles on it and even if USAA and Carmax had lots of Prisuses with well over 100,000 miles for not much less than we were looking to spend. 

So, to appease my husband, since he was the one helping to make a new-to-me car possible, after trying out a bare bones 2012 Yaris and a 2010 Civic Coupe that I pretty much dug, I test drove a 2008 Prius with 85,000 miles. 

And. Fell. In. Love. 

I emailed a former colleague with a Prius for her opinion, which only served to  validated my infatuation. The ride is smooth, the sound system great, and the safety rating at the top of its class — which matters more to me now that I drive I- and business-40s every day. Because those people are terrifying. I feel safer on the D.C. Beltway! 

Most importantly, I looooooove tiny cars. Growing up, my dad had an Omni, and my first car was a Horizon (basically the same thing). After driving a compact Saturn sedan for a decade, I took a two-door Acura Integra on a cross-country road trip, before driving it ’til it died and finding the Golf. Despite its square back, the Prius does not feel big or boxy at ALL. And there is hardly any blind spot, which was my biggest concern, since, again, I drive the highway every day.

So, yes. I was wrong. Again. 

After the longest week ever, wherein I had another Golf issue, decided to purchase a new car, a few test drives, tested this one over night, got it checked out by our mechanic, and finalized financing…. the Prius was ours!

Now, for the important part: a name. 
My Horizon was Gizmo, because it made a humming noise like the cute little guy in GREMLINS, and the Integra was Serenity — an older silver model bought in a time of desperation for great adventure, like on FIREFLY. The Golf was called Evinrude, after the fun little dragonfly on THE RESCUERS, but the name never really stuck. Maybe because Hampton thought it should be called “Of Mexico”. (It was a Golf. Say it out loud.) So I wanted this car to really have a personality. 

It soon became clear who the new car is: Paula Proctor. In TV land, Paula Proctor is a paralegal (and law student. Spoiler alert.) on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Like the character, my new-to-me car is a little older than I perhaps thought desirable, with a few more miles, but she is safe and comfortable, and has many great features. And more than one person has told me how much I remind them of CXG’s main character, Rebecca — which I am 98.5% sure they mean as a compliment (although I am Team Greg all the way. Have you met my sarcastic and slender dark-haired husband?) — so it makes sense that my daily companion be the BFF of one of my favorite (and apparently most similar) TV characters. 

Not to mention the fact that the actress who plays Paula, Donna Lynne Champlin, has both amazing comedic timing and a killer belt — two of my very favorite things in a person. AND she played the goddess herself, the woman responsible for the shape of my theatrical career: Carol Burnett. 

So, now that the sticker is here, it’s official: Paula Proctor the Prius. 

I can’t wait to see what craziness — and musical numbers — we get into! 

Now: who wants to buy a 2003 VW Golf??

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