Don’t Hate Me Because I’m…Sensible!

 i-hate-your-camry.jpg

I was driving through the parking lot of a local shopping center the other day, when I noticed a young guy in a maroon car with his brake lights on, obviously about to back out of the parking space ahead of me.  Initially, I slowed, but then when I saw him look straight at me, I figured he was waiting for me to pass by.  But just as I drew near, he abruptly backed out, right in front of me.  So I slammed on my brakes and pulled slightly to the right to avoid a collision.  My groceries, which were in the seat beside me, slid to the floor.

I muttered a few choice phrases and stared hard at the back of his car.  He was taking him own sweet time about accelerating.  So that gave me plenty of time to read his bumper sticker. 

I Hate Your Camry!

Despite my irritation, I laughed out loud.  As it happens, I drive a Camry.  I was driving it that day.  But the idea that anyone could hate a Camry was ludicrous to me.  Camrys just seem so innocuous and inoffensive.  How could anyone hate them?  It’s almost like hating…I dunno…a golden retriever.   You know—they’re reliable; friendly; largish, but they don’t eat that much; and you see them everywhere.  Yep, just your basic golden retriever of a car. 
 
I mean, it’s not like I was driving a Hummer or something.  That I could understand.  But a Camry?  Maybe he has some stereotype of a Camry driver in his mind.  Maybe it symbolizes something to him.  But I’m not sure what.  Dullness?  Conservatism?  Thriftiness?  Old age?   Well, I am a middle-aged, thrifty, sometimes dull moderate-leaning-to-the-left, so I guess there could be some validity in that stereotype.

But I bet you’re wondering—what was he driving?  A Civic?  A Miata?  Some other zippy, sporty, little car?  No indeed.  He was driving a… Buick Regal.  Which is basically just an American Camry.   I mean, my goodness, I don’t like to stereotype, but if you were playing one of those match games where you draw a line from a word in one column and its closest match in the second, and you saw the word “Buick” in column one and “Conservative Senior Citizen” in column two…well…would there be any question?

I wish I could have a word or two with that young whippersnapper.  A nice, motherly chat.  I’d talk to him about the futility and folly of hatred, about his lack of driving skills and judgment, and about the fact that it would have been far more prudent to get a Camry.  Better reliability, better crash rating, and an all-around better car.

I would remind him that he, too, will be old someday.  Because I think that what his bumper sticker is all about—he’s afraid he’s going to turn into his dad.  Or his grandpa.  But someday he, too, will be old, thrifty, and a little dull.  And he, too, will love the way his Camry glides along, a smooth and reliable ride, insulating him from young whippersnappers who would hate him just because he’s…sensible.

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21 Responses to “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m…Sensible!”

  1. June Says:

    I have an older friend who refused to buy a Camry because that’s the car her mother drove. For her, the Camry was a symbol of aging…of becoming her mother. Never mind that it’s a great car. There was no changing her mind. I could literally see the fear in her face. It was truly a “wow” moment for me. But she never projected her fear onto anyone else. What’s dangerous is when people – like this guy – do. It sounds like this guy is too young to be worried about being old, but I guess fear is a powerful force that perks up at any age.

    I’m reminded of the scene in “Fried Green Tomatoes” when Kathy Bates rams her sedan into the obnoxious girl’s sports car. If you’re not familiar with the movie, the girl just zipped into and cut off Bates who was patiently waiting for a parking space. When she objected, the girl said, “face it lady, we’re younger and faster than you” – or something to that effect. Bates went ballistic…starting ramming the girl’s car, while declaring that she’s older and has more insurance.

    Beth, just keep laughing all the way to the bank, so to speak. This guy’ll figure it out sooner or later.

  2. Sara Says:

    Okay. I have a couple of reactions to this.
    First: This reminds me of some of the hard lessons my girls learned in fifth grade. Girls can be so cruel at that age. I remember explaining to my kids that so-and-so was just being nasty because for a moment it made her feel better about herself. (For some reason my kids bought it). With this guy I feel that his “inner-dull-guy” lashes out at others by saying he hates Camry’s. What he really means is that he hates the part of himself that is so dull and risk aversive that makes him drive the American version of a Camry, the Buick Regal. I seriously doubt ANYONE can truly hate Camry’s.
    Secondly….you went back and took a picture????

  3. CountryDew Says:

    Do you think he knew you were driving a Camry, and so waited to back out so you’d see the sticker?

    I drive a Camry too, it’s a great car. I used to drive Fords but the last two I had were wastes of good plastic and steel. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake a third time.

  4. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    June: I’m going to have to watch “Fried Green Tomatoes” just to see that Kathy Bates scene. Ha,ha,ha…that sounds hilarious! (And I love Kathy Bates. Did you see her in “Misery?”)

    Sara: As it turns out, the young whippersnapper works somewhere at the shopping center because his car was parked the next week in exactly the same space. So I surreptitiously took a picture from my Camry. I thought about parking next to him and taking a picture of my Camry next to his Buick Regal, but got a little nervous about it!

    Country Dew: Oh, I ADORE my Camry. They are great cars. And, yes, I think he DID back out so I could see his sticker. But if I had hit him, his Buick would have gotten the worst of it!

  5. marion Says:

    How funny! And you will love Fried Green Tomatoes, promise. Then: Whatever does it say about my cute little PT Cruiser? Some people actually think that’s an ugly car. Ugly? Nah…adorable.

  6. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Marion: I think the PT Cruiser is adorable, too! If I didn’t love my sensible Camry so much, I might have a Cruiser.

  7. colleen Says:

    That’s the first I’ve heard of Camry haters. WTH? This reminds me of the bumper sticker I once saw that said “I AM HURT.” I mean it’s about that weird. Glad you didn’t break any eggs.

  8. bluemountainmama Says:

    you are such a good writer… i loved this post! i drove my grandma’s camry when she got too old to drive…. that car was a trooper! it went thru my sister and i learning to drive and still kept going…..

  9. Shannon Says:

    Oh, bully on him. FGT is one of my absolute fav movies. I crave soul food every time I see it.

    Even us younger whippersnappers have to quell the urge the ram folks sometimes, even if we are as Zen as can be. Shannon

  10. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Colleen: No, I didn’t break any eggs, but my bread got mashed by the two cartons of milk falling on it. It was squashed about as bad as the bumper of a Buick Regal would be if hit by…say…a Camry. Hee, hee.

    Bluemountainmama: Thank you! I appreciate that, and, in fact, have thought the same about you as I’ve read your blog. By the way, is your grandma’s Camry still going?

    Shannon: Yeah, bully on him! In fact, Double Bully on Buick Boy! :)

  11. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    I recently bought a great-grandma’s old car … a 1983 Datsun, the last year before they were called Nissan. The car still has great pickup and power … after all, if was only driven to church, the grocery store, and the hairdresser. LOL. Can you imagine a 1983 car with only 113,000 miles on it? I put more than that on two or three different cars during the time this Datsun was on the road. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and I love love love the Fried Green Tomatoes movie. Especially the part played by Bates. I even have a bumper sticker that quotes her: TOWANDA!

  12. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Bonnie: You were very fortunate to get that car! I’ll bet it has another 113,000 miles on it yet! Or maybe more. I’ll bet the interior was spotless.

    TOWANDA!

  13. benjamin (aka guitarmaniac) Says:

    Aside from the sludge buildup recall, the Camry is infallible. But I still like to be able to hear and feel what I’m driving–which is why I have a leaning towards 1982 Volvos! But I do not have any scruples against Camries in general, no…

  14. Salman Mansor Says:

    What a funny story.
    I don´t know if it´s Hollywood slang, but for some reason Camry´s are considered as being boring and conservativ eeven in Scandinavia. Even though they are quite expensive in Denmark, because of the 205% tax on new cars (Therefor our carpark has many old cars and one of the most solid are Toyotas, whereas the US cars are very rare because they are expensive and extremely poorly quality, and used as bad examples.)
    I recently just bought one, and the Camry is considered as an japanese car made for the US market. It´s a very big car, but this is the car that i really like to have and drive around in, it´s so cosy and big, and it is wellknown for being without fault and unstoppable. I´ve had VW and Audi etc. but this is the car that i really like.
    Enjoy the car and take good care of it :-)

    PS: Fried Green Tomatoes is a must see classic, even in Denmark :-D

  15. valleyturtle Says:

    I just purchased an 09 Camry this week. I hate it. It is not the quality car everyone seems to have been brainwashed to believe. Things are falling off and rolling around in the trunk, the weather stripping is coming off, the trim inside is cut poorly… Piece of crap! I wish I would gave bought an Avenger RT instead.

  16. Happy Birthday to Me: My Two-Thousand Dollar Birthday Gift « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    [...] as if all that wasn’t enough, just in time for my 50th birthday, the transmission on my usually reliable Camry suddenly refused to go into reverse, making driving a little nerve-wracking since all my forward [...]

  17. REGAL DRIVER Says:

    I am 18 and this story cracks me up, maybe because I can relate so much. I am a guy, and my first car was a clunker, and at the time my mom owned a Camry, which I hated, I thought it was boring, ugly, severely over-rated, and worst of all… Foreign. But my mom bought a newer car, so I ended up with the Camry for a while, which I hated even more, my parents and I actually used to fight over the car, I hated it so much, and they said there “was nothing to dislike about it.” Well, to add to my story, from the time I was about 10, I have been a die-hard Buick fan, I don’t know why, but I have always really liked them, and last December, I finally bought a ’98 Jet Black Buick Regal LS, and I love it. There is no comparison to the Camry, Buick wins hands down. It is not even funny how much I can relate to this guy, especially because we are both young Buick drivers. For me, the Camry takes away the sales of American made cars, like my beloved Regal that are just better, in my opinion. Plus, having owned a ’98 Camry and a ’98 Regal, I can safely say that I love my Buick, a classic American sedan, and hate the Camry. a foreign rice burner, I also would own that bumper sticker! Haha great story though, had it been a Black Buick, I would have thought it was me!

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi, Regal Driver. I really enjoyed your comment, even if you did diss my Camry. :-) I still have my rice burner and I still love it. (And by the way, I think most of the Toyotas being sold in my area are made in Tennessee.) I can really relate to your parents because I have been talking to my own son (who is 21 and will graduate from college next year) about the possibility of taking my Camry, but he doesn’t seem real enthusiastic, which irritates me because it is a great car that has never given me trouble in the ten years I’ve had it (except for the transmission going out, which was a fluke, I think).

      I’m glad you’ve had such good fortune with your Buick Regal. I hope it gives you many more years of happy driving. And thanks for your comment. It was refreshing to read a comment that disagreed with my car-buying choices in an intelligent and respectful way. And for what it’s worth, if my son takes my Camry, I’m considering getting one of those new Ford Fiestas. Because I, too, would prefer buying American—but being of limited means, I have to buy the best value for my dollar.

  18. Chris Says:

    I am a Camry hater. Not just Cam-rays though I hate all Tieyotas. I would LOVE to have that bumper sticker on my car. They represent all that is wrong with Amreica. Clueless people just following along. Customer : “Hi, I am here to buy a new car. I never take chances, I have no soul, I do what others tell me to do.. Salesman : ” Have you looked at our fine selection of beige Camrys over here….

    C’mon people don;t you ever just make a decision on passion???

  19. Black Ice Says:

    The car that ruined America.
    It’s the car of choice for people devoid of any personality.

    I WANT THAT BUMPER STICKER!!

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