the “family” car

This evening after work I picked Jeff up at the Metro and we headed over to Alexandria Toyota, where we’d been invited to a new owners’ “Thank You” event. After all, they promised food and drink, door prizes, and a coupon for a free oil change just for attending. For some reason I was thinking that it would be just Prius owners, but when we arrived and saw the quite large crowd (probably 40 or more), it became apparent that the invitation had gone to all recent purchasers from the dealership. And the first portion of the evening–when the host talked about warranties, service schedules and the like–clearly was geared to the non-Prius-owning bulk of the crowd, as some of the information just wasn’t correct when applied to the Prius.

After that, we were split into smaller groups; one group was invited for discussion and a view under the hood of a quintessential Toyota–a Camry or a Corolla, probably–while another was offered the same opportunity for a look under another, with the understanding that the groups would switch after some time. After a few minutes, a third mechanic arrived to take the Prius owners to go over the unique engine and maintenance of a Prius, and to answer any of our specific questions.

So the very small subset of the larger group–just three sets of Prius owners among us–separated at that point. There was an older gentleman there alone–he owns an older Avalon and a brand-new Prius–and the other gay couple there that evening, who had been sitting behind us during the earlier presentation. The Avalon-Prius owner moved on to one of the other groups, but the four of us continued to talk about the Prius. Eventually we briefly joined one of the main groups getting the under-the-hood presentation, but it was so unrelated to our cars and our interests that we ended up talking among ourselves until the group was brought back together as a whole for the closing remarks. Mark exhibited the same Prius-obsession to which I’ve admitted, so I told the two of them about my Prius blog and the 2004 Prius Yahoo group that has lots of good information, especially in the files section; after getting back home, I emailed them the URLs. They were really cool guys, and it was nice to connect with them in the midst of the room of strangers, even more so since the evening was largely just a big marketing ploy for the dealership to continue to enforce that we need to come back to them for all our parts and service; given that I’ve bought $20K+ of extremely new technology, I’m not likely to take this car anywhere but a Toyota dealer for service, so the commercial was a little unnecessary. But who am I to pass up free chocolate chip cookies and star fruit? Star fruit? It’s like they were expecting us queers.

And then there was all that talk about the express lube jobs and having our fluids topped. On the other hand, though, none of the service technicians present were at all likely to fuel any of my garageman fantasies; they looked nothing like the “mechanics” gracing any number of issues of Men or in the Colt and Falcon stables.