Sell a Mercedes, buy a Focus

December 25, 2013

I didn’t actually sell Willy’s old Mercedes, I donated it.  I kept it way longer than I probably should have.  It never felt like mine and it was expensive to fuel and maintain.  I put much too much money into it.  When Willy first discovered how sick he was, one of things he tried to do was to get a different car, now that I was driving again — but there just wasn’t time and health for that, things went too fast, I certainly didn’t have time to do that, either.

I discovered when I bought my (used) 2001 Focus years later (I think it was spring of 2007) that I no longer got “attitude” from other drivers.  I guess driving around in a 1989 Mercedes wagon implies something to many people.  The Focus is also a better physical fit for my (small) size, too, although it turns out to be a terrible fit for Jordan’s — he can’t get his knees in a comfortable place with respect to the steering column.  It’s color scheme is the same as the Sable Willy’s father gave him when he received his Ph.D. — white exterior, beige fuzzy interior.  My Focus was clearly previously owned by someone who smoked, Willy’s Sable had been new, although, if I remember correctly, its first incarnation was a lemon and had to be replaced by Ford.

So I was tickled pink to read in James Carroll’s piece on Pope Francis in the current issue of The New Yorker that the papacy de-accessioned the papal Mercedes, as well as acquired a Ford Focus — I hadn’t realized there was that first step, too, in how Pope Francis came to be riding around in a Focus.

It’s interesting.  I think the Pope is physically a big man, and they went with a Focus for the sake of modesty when they really didn’t have to, so the dynamics are clearly different in the two situations, as well as plenty of other details, big and small, being different, but I like that there’s a parallel sequence of putting aside a Mercedes for a Focus.  Somehow I find it reassuring, in the sense of being suggestive of the idea that this is “what one does.”


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