Automatic Relationship Compensation (ARC).  I’ve discovered that I suffer from ARC after I bought my first car.  The concept is this: the more my romantic life suffers, the more money I spend on my car.  After three years of on and off with a girl I was dating, my car was pretty damn tricked out.  I even acquired the label, “tuner,” from some of my friends, mainly as a result of them never having modified their own cars beyond the occasional Christmas tree air freshener.  Unfortunately, that car basically broke up with me in the most non-subtle way when its engine blew.  For a car, this is the relationship equivalent of a girl cheating on you with two guys that she purchased with your credit card from a Russian mail order groom catalog.  Basically, it’s over and it’s going to cost you thousands.

So now I have my new car, am single and in the depths of the dating world.  So far, I haven’t been dating much, just a night out for drinks here and there.  So all I’ve really done to my car is debadge the trunk and replace the shift knob.  But recently, I went out with a girl for a very promising lunch.  Since I met her at the elevator and actually got her to agree to a lunch, the potential was endless.  We had a nice casual lunch in the cafeteria at my work so we went out for a second meal, this time at a nice restaurant on a glorious sunny day.  As soon as our food arrived, I knew I wanted dinner with her.  So I asked and clarified that I was asking for a date, not a friends dinner out (just to avoid any confusion).  She kind of agreed but ducked the question in a cute way that left me looking for my Secret Decoder Ring.  A little while later, she emailed me that she was having a great time getting to know me, but that her heart was interested in someone else at the moment and that she wants to have lunch again.  So now I’m thinking the solution to this problem is the GTWORX/Bilstein Impreza Sport Cup Kit.  It’s a spring and damper combo which should do a lot to solve my car’s handling problems.  See, my new car is flipping fast, but hitting a bump on the highway is like the early moments of a plane taking off, when you’re not sure if you are leaving the ground, landing or something terminally has gone wrong and you are about to yaw into the weeds.  This replacement suspension won’t drop the car more than an inch front and rear, but it should give me M3 levels of handling combined with Subaru levels of grip which should make for an unvarying level of fun when I’m bleeding off frustrations in the upper levels of the State of Illinois Moving Violation System.

Parallels between a car that is too bouncy and a life that will similarly fail to ride out the up and down bumps of dating are obvious and I yawn at the comparison.  The thing is, Obama or Bush or whoever is responsible for my tax refund feels that I should be spending money to help spin the economy into a more sanguine mood.  But for me to do that means that my love life must be in the middle of a recession, or at least a jobless recovery after the last depression and round of layoffs.

Maybe I should just get a Christmas tree air freshener.

What do you think?