My Noodle

The Auto Show – The Brainwashing of Karin

As the next step in “The Brainwashing of Karin”, I headed down to the Auto Show in downtown Seattle. I’d been on the fence for a few days, feeling the resistance. Coming up with reasons not to go. I can’t afford any of those cars! I haven’t driven in half a year! I don’t even have a job! They’ll know I’m not one of them, that I’m a fraud, and they’ll laugh at me if I climb into that Ferrari’s driver’s seat.


I’m going anyway.

Cars have always been a weird part of my life. Most of the cars I’ve had I bought used from friends. Only once did I make payments on a car. It was a Plymouth Horizon and I made payments on $2000. It seems incredible now that I had to make payments on that thing. It was totaled in a multi-car pile-up on I-90 two months after I moved to Seattle.

I rarely washed my cars. They got dirty inside, even though I didn’t leave a lot of trash in it. The most I did was pop the hood every so often and check belts and stuff. I was pretending I knew what I was doing. I had to quit doing the oil myself because I found that I was convinced that the dip stick was wrong. The car always “needed” more oil. Grandpa Carlson would go out and remove all that extra oil every time I came to visit. I don’t know what my problem was, but I finally decided to just do Jiffy Lube.

Point is…cars have never been that important to me.

Then, I got rid of my last car. Yep, I went carless. 10 years ago.

And that’s where the brainwashing comes in. I want to get another car and I find myself resistant to it. I want to live as well as I can, and I find myself resistant to that as well.

The things I’ll do to get what I want… But first…

New Relationship

I’ve owned a car most of my life. I’ve had a Chevy Nova (lemon), a Plymouth station wagon, a Chrysler, a Honda, two Toyota Corollas, a VW Bug, a Chevy, a black Ford that had a water god in the trunk (I have no idea where the water came from), an old fiat, and an old BMW with primer paint that was taken from me at gun point in Sicily.

There have probably been more that I don’t remember. And most of those cars I’ve given way when I was done.


Walking and buses were going to get me most of the way, but sometimes a gal just needs a car. So, I had to come up with a solution.

Enter Zipcar.

Suddenly I’m driving new, or newer, cars. Of all kinds. Each one is different and each one had to be dealt with in different ways. I found myself having preferences. I found myself rating the cars I was driving. I became actually interested in cars.

VW Jetta – I’m convinced that there is a design flaw since the blinkers don’t work like I expect them to. Imaging driving a car and not being able to turn the blinkers off!

Toyota Prius – This is a car that has changed driving so radically that you need a master’s degree to drive it. I sat there reading the manual instead of getting to my destination. I couldn’t see well out the back window. And I tend to see the Prius as the car of choice for those who want to feel superior without actually being superior. I’m prejudiced against that car. Even the name is fitting.

Ford Compass – a partially manual big honking car that was foisted upon me because the person driving my ordered car hadn’t returned it yet. Never again…

Mini Cooper – the most fun car I’ve ever driven, with the exception of the Alfa Romeo I drove when I was doing security in the Navy.

Audi – I don’t remember the model, but this was the most comfortable car I’ve ever driven, with the exception of my Grandpa Armbrust’s Lincoln. Lincoln will always be the most comfortable (although I should test this theory at the auto show). When I get to that stage in my life, I’ll have a Lincoln and a driver.

Kia Soul – In terms of utility, this was my favorite car. And it was fun to drive. And it reminds me of that commercial with the hip hop guys in the Soul being all cool. Who says advertising doesn’t work?

Zipcar doesn’t do all those makes anymore. It’s too bad. I mean what a wonderful way to test drive a car!

What all this did was to clarify to me that my next car needs to be purchased with a goal in mind. Utility? Comfort? Fun Value? I need to decide.

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright is the voice of Bart Simpson and a lot of other voices. She’s big in the voice over industry and she’s my hero. I took her master class and found her energy and enthusiasm to be so inspiring that that’s the direction I’m now going.

I read on Crackbook that she had gone and bought herself a Tesla.

Now, I probably wouldn’t go for a Tesla, but the idea of being able to buy a car that I actually want took hold. That special day, I would be able to walk into one of those showrooms and drive away in something really cool.

I’ve been taking Kasia Urbaniak’s classes about women and power and something she said really stuck to me. The says there is no such thing as a low maintenance person. That we want what we want and to say that we don’t want anything is to delude ourselves.

This hit me because I’ve always tended to be on the side of trying to be minimalistic. But you know what? I’m not really. I want to be comfortable and have the things and services that make my life easier. That said, I’m not going to go buy a mansion or anything. Mansions are too big and I’m paranoid. But there are things and experiences that I want.

My dad has always been a minimalist as well. I talked to my brother Rick and told him what Kasia said, and we decided to do something for dad. For a minimalist, he really enjoyed getting the new pillows and high thread count sheets among other things. Neither of us had even thought of doing that for our dad since he was so adamantly minimalistic.

I think that we put on the cloak of minimalist because we think we can’t have those things, and it’s easier to not be disappointed if we tell ourselves that we don’t want them.

Voice Over Commercial Class

I was in a commercial class at Voice One and I’d picked some national car ads to work with during the class. These are a lot of fun and for one of the ones I picked, I got close to the mic and seduced the listener.

One of the things Sally asked me was what I thought about the car. It was an Infinity. I started in on comfort and luxury, then moved onto prestige. When people think about prestige, they often go toward BMW and Mercedes. But there are less flashy cars that are even more prestigious. Cars that people don’t think about but that those in power recognize as cars of power.

Anyway, I probably went a bit overboard with it. At the end of it all, Sally told me to put National Automobile on my list for my demo.


What it did the most for me was solidify the fact that I do want a car. And I would like to have the car that I want.

Really, Karin?

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a one-bedroom, cheap apartment in a decrepit apartment building. I have no job and am working toward getting into a very competitive business. I really don’t want to go software test again, at least as a full-time job.

Really, Karin? You think you’re going to walk into Audi’s showroom and pick out a car? And maybe pay cash?

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

Yeah, I do.

Maybe not today, or even this year. But it will happen.

At the moment, the car I need just needs to be good enough to let me travel. It’s not representative of the future to come.

And that’s why I went to the auto show.

To sit in those cars, to look at options, to talk to salespeople, and mostly…to visualize myself owning and caring for that car.

To make it real for me.

There was a self-help book I read in which the author (blanking on his name) talked about how in his mind, a BMW was car that represented success to him. He visualized that BMW. And he got that BMW. Only to be confronted with a friend who ended up with a Ferrari. He realized that he had set his sights too low. That he had constrained himself and what he was able to receive.

I want to explore and become clear about what I want, because the day will come when I’ll get it.

The Auto Show

I went down there as me. Bellbottomed jeans and tennis shoes. No putting on airs or pretending to be anything other than myself.

I shouldn’t have worried, the place was filled with people with eyes too big for their wallets.

The first thing that struck me was the size of these vehicles. I hadn’t noticed just how big some of them are! And the doors! Some of the back seat doors are twice the size as front seat doors used to be!

Speaking of doors, why are people messing with how you open the door? I ended up in a group of people trying really hard to open one car door. There was a button and a handle, and they didn’t do a thing. So confusing!

I sat in a lot of vehicles and felt my feelings and cleared them. I imagined driving them, looking out the windows, and avoiding traffic. I must have sat in every make that I was allowed to sit in. They didn’t let us even touch the Rolls Royce and Maserati.

I’m not sure why I didn’t sit in the Lincoln. Maybe I still find it intimidating. That’s weird since I’ve taken a Lincoln Town Car from the airport several times. Don’t judge, they don’t cost much more than taxis.

There was a Sprinter van that was off limits too. A lot of people complained about that. I figure it’s because of all the Crackbook ads yapping about Sprinter Vans and trying to get you to go in on a raffle.

I validated that I want a smaller car to drive, and a larger car if I ever have a driver.

I had a chance to touch and check out all kinds of cars. That’s hard to do when you’re walking down the street, people get testy when you try to open the trunk of their car. Especially when they’re in the driver’s seat.

I got to sit in an Alfa Romero and think about the last time I was in such a killer car. (Hint: Sicily)

I don’t know if I accomplished anything else. I was pretty overwhelmed by all the cars.

But maybe, just maybe, I’ve brainwashed myself enough to not get overwhelmed and taken advantage of when I start going to dealerships.

After all, other people have cars and sometimes killer cars…why not me?