May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Goober. To some of you, a goober is a delicious chocolate-covered peanut snack. Apparently a “goober” is also a west coast nickname for someone who is a weirdo, but in a good way. To me, Goober will always be the name of my first and beloved car. Goober, of blessed memory, was a 1980 four-door Cadillac Sedan Deville. He had a tan top and a dark brown bottom. He had a lovely, buttery-smooth leather interior. Goober’s front seat could hold three to four people comfortably, depending on their size. His back seat could hold five to six people comfortably, again, depending on their size. He had all of the amenities of a high class 1980s car…cigarette lighter, ash tray, tape deck, change holder with different-sized openings for your different-sized coins. Goober had beautiful hubcaps, shiny and bright; I was the envy of all of Washington Heights when I used to drive this baby to the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. His Cadillac hood ornament stood up proudly on his, well, hood, which enabled me to line it up with the lines on the highway so I knew I was driving in a straight line.

As time went on, the inside of Goober began to look like he had curtains because the glue gave out on the ceiling and the fabric started to drape down, but it was romantic and beautiful; that was until I couldn’t see out of the rearview mirror and we had to use a staple gun to prevent it from falling down. Poor Goober.

But he survived the pain and carried on. He drove my friends all over the place from New Jersey to the Catskill Mountains, from Manhattan to Monsey, from Bayonne to Boston. His comfortable back seat, well, we won’t go into that, but Goober was the man. I was given Goober after my dear grandfather passed away, and I treasured him (my grandfather mostly, but also Goober). The delightful, melodic clicking sound of his turn signal, the 45 minutes it took to fill up a tank of gas, the way, after a few years, his horn would go off spontaneously…great memories. But as we all know, the future waits for no one, not even the greatest car in the world.

It was March 1996, and I was pregnant with son #1 and Goober was giving me more morning sickness then son #1 was. I thought there was a problem. I took Goober to the doctor and the prognosis was very bad. There was nothing they could do for him. You know you are in big trouble when a mechanic tells you there is nothing he can do for your car. So, we called Lubavitch and made a donation. They came the next day and put my dear Goober on a flatbed truck. I was kind of hoping they would’ve brought a mitzvah tank along so we could recite some goodbye tehillim, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I saved a hub cap as a testimonial to my love of Goober and I know that when Moshiach comes to town, he will not be riding a horse, but he will be driving my beautifully reincarnated Goober…of that I am quite certain.

In any event, let us fast forward to now. The other day on the news, they were talking about a car that could drive itself. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Will we soon have flying cars like the Jetson family of cartoon fame? A car that can parallel park itself? Really? What is the fun of parallel parking if you can’t gently scrape the side of the car in front of you and then barely tap the car behind you? Where would the rush of fitting into a space that leaves you less than a centimeter on either side of your car come if some electronic something or other were at the wheel of your vehicle NOT yelling at everyone in the car to keep quiet so you can park the freakin’ car and yes, I know I am too close…stop pressuring me!!!!! It would be no fun at all.

And now, the newer cars are coming without keys. For those of you who haven’t had the joy of leasing/owning/renting one of these vehicles, it is a really bizarre experience. All you need is the key fob in the car with you, you step on the brake and you press the button. It all seems really simple unless you have been driving the same kind of car for 60 years, like my dear, dear father. He recently leased a new car. Poor guy, he is so overwhelmed with the new technology that he keeps driving my mom’s car. When he tried the new car for the first time, he kept pressing the button and nothing happened. Ah, he remembered, he stepped on the brake and pressed the button, but nothing happened. Rats, he gently muttered, for the key fob had been left in the house. Ridiculous. Why did we have to get rid of keys??? How is that easier for anyone? No really, I am asking you…how is that easier for anyone?

Wishing you only safe driving in the new year…

Banji Ganchrow is a self-proclaimed writer who enjoys honking the horn when husband #1 is driving because it drives her crazy that he never does…

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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