We, sons and daughters of recent immigrants (most of our parents came in the late 60’s early 70’s from Greece) haven’t done that bad for ourselves now, have we? At least that’s what I see when I glance at the church’s lot on a sunny fall Sunday morning. BMW’S Mercedes, Lexus etc all lined up in their parking spots like an expensive car dealership.

Question: Why do these guys with their Maseratis park diagonally taking up three spots, take up the handicap spots or park right in front of the church. like they do at the casinos or the bouzoukia in Greece (pre-financial crisis)? Are you guys telling the rest of us to go F#@#k ourselves while your in church praying?

The progressives with their Prius’ and Volvos that come with factory installed Obama bumper stickers, they have to park several blocks away and walk to church in the rain because well just because… God prefers those who drive expensive European cars.

Now to the lisence plates. You see things like “KOUKLA”, “OUZO”, “YIASOU”, “TAKIS”, “SAKIS” and “MAKIS”. Some even have their village names: “”MIKRO SPOURGITI” “PANO XORA” etc. Can you imagine the exchange on the radio between the police officers when they stop Mr. PGreek Porshe?

OFFICER: This is officer Smith. I just pulled over a Porsche with license plate #:
T as in Tom
A as in Apple
S as in Sam
S as in Sam
O as in Orange
S as in Sam
DISPATCHER: How many S’s are there?

And that’s just the outside, inside the vehicle well that’s another story. You have the kompoloi (classic) and a picture of Panagia or Jesus to protect us on the AC expressway on our way back from the Mazonakis concert where we had one too many martinis and from the wife who will kill us once we get home because we dropped 3G’s at the blackjack table.

Then there’s the mati to keep all those hot Greek chicks away from us middle aged balding Greek beer-bellied men and yes even those that use more GRECIAN formula (no pun intended) on their hair than an obese 13 year old uses mayonnaise on a ham and cheese sandwich.

We have our pirated CD collection that we bought from the Nigerian at the taverna in Greece last summer along with our Garmin that talks to us in Greek as we miss the exit off I95. Then there’s the glove compartment where we stash a few hundred dollar bills just in case our cousin Panos calls us when he’s done his night shift at the diner and wants to go to the casino. Under the seat we have a loaded Glock 9mm.

Why are we so obsessed with cars I ask myself? I get facebook pictures of shiny expensive vehicles from middle aged friends all the time. Cars? My emails by order of popularity go like this: Cars #1, hot chicks in bikinis (sometimes) #2 and Panathinaikos updates #3.

I was never into the car thing even as a kid, it just didn’t appeal to me unlike most of my friends. The vehicle I drove for 17 years was a 93’ Toyota 4X4 pick up with a manual transmission that I loved. You should of seen the look on people’s faces when I pulled up on that thing. Friends and family would look the other way. Once a woman in my neighborhood flagged me down and asked if I could give her a price to clean her yard. I said to her “Ma’m I’d love to but I’m not a landscaper” and she replied “then what are you doing in this neighborhood with this vehicle” and I said “I was sent by AHEPA to bring the value of the properties down so that more Greeks from my village move in”.

This was the perfect vehicle for me, I would load the back up all the time, it would go through snow like a hot knife cuts through butter and I would load it up with my German-short haired pointer and shotgun and visit my favorite grouse spot. Wife and teenage daughters wanted to throw a party when I finally had to say goodbye to my beloved pickup. “Mati” and the “kompoloi” in hand I replaced my pickup with… another pickup. Can’t wait to take it to church.