Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Jul 6, 2022
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DALLAS EXPLAINED ONCE AND FOR ALL THE CARS An Addict’s Story: Why I Joined Mercs Anonymous

By Sally Giddens |

It’s no big deal to drive into Nashville or Indianapolis or Birmingham behind the wheel of a “74 Dodge Dart. People don’t stop in the street to point, gasp, and stare. People don’t shake their heads as if to say, poor girl, her daddy ought to be ashamed. But in Dallas-the Mercedes, Jaguar, and BMW capital of the world-a Dodge Dart is indeed a spectacle.

Not knowing this fact-that $50,000 cars were just part of everyday life in Dallas-I took the Dodge Dart to all of the Dallas hot spots when I first moved to town, It appalled valet parkers everywhere. They would snicker at one another as they threw the car keys back and forth like a hot potato, each trying to avoid the dirty deed-having to drive the Dart.

As the months went by and I began to settle in here, I developed a perverse, superior attitude regarding my machine. The Dart became a statement-a statement without air conditioning, but a statement nonetheless-telling these haughty Dallasites in their 450SLs that I didn’t need that kind of status symbol to belong in this city. I reveled in shocking the valet parkers. I enjoyed letting the car get so dirty that passers-by wrote “wash me” in its dust.

But after I had lived in Dallas for a year or so, I changed. Secretly, I had begun coveting my neighbor’s Mercedes. I coveted his child’s BMW and his wife’s Jag. I began to compute in salary-years how long it would take me to buy one. It got really scary when I knew that the color of my favorite Jag was “British Racing Green” and that my favorite Mercedes was tinted “Blue-green Metallic.” I started hanging out at Stephenson Motor Company on Oak Lawn after hours to peer longingly into the windows of the showroom. I bought Mercedes accessories for the Dart-a Mercedes gearshift knob, Mercedes driving gloves, Mercedes hood ornament. I realized that I needed to get some professional help when I considered buying one of those VW bugs with an old Mercedes grill welded to the front.

That’s when some friends and I formed Mercs (pronounced like jerks) Anonymous. Thank God, there were others in Dallas like me, suffering people who drove an American-made car on the streets, but a Mercedes in their heads. We sat around and confessed our desires, saying things like, “I want one, I really, really, really want one,” and we gave each other the strength to drive on.

I don’t hang out around Stephenson Motors anymore. And I’ve put away the Mercedes accessories. But every great once in a while I slip up; this is just as powerful as any other addiction. I imagine myself driving-wearing a flowing head scarf à la Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. I’m on a winding road in the South of France; Cary’s in the passenger seat. I can almost hear the powerful purr of my 450SL. I can see the Blue-green Metallic finish, bluer than the Mediterranean. I can smell the leather interior. ..

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