I told him that was a mean thing to say and that it was a lovely car that has treated me well and taken my abuse for years and that it was still running fine. He said no no, it's not about that. "Ya beih aslaha lamo2akhza mish mashya ma3al hay2a keda." That is, it didn't jive with the overall hay2a, meaning both authority (as in the Cairo Transportation Authority) but also, and more likely in this case, all of the following: form, shape; exterior, appearance, guise, aspect, bearing; air mien, physiognomy; attitude, position; situation, condition, state; group, (social) class.*
I asked "what hay2a, to be exact?" The man, still weaving in and out of the car with my nearly empty container of dashbord polish in hand, made limp but not subtle references to my and my deceptively sophisticated-looking companion's entitlement to a classier ride. I felt no emotion save the desire to remedy what I saw as this man's ignorance regarding the correlations between cars, class and cool. So I went off on a very short and failed tirade about why my car was indeed cool and commendable and how no shab need 'deserve' a better car.
The guy just shook his head and then looked at me silently for a couple of seconds, a glimmer in his eye betraying the sweet treats filling his imagination. Smiling, his eyes now somewhere else, speaking from a place of pure mazag, he said "Ya beih enta terkab keda Nubeira", 'tis a Daewoo Nubeira you should drive, and dove into the car, coming out the other side grinning still, "aw Leganza masalan," his head indulgently bobbing from side to side like those taxicab dashboard tigers and puppies. He then came up beside me and, sensing my disagreement, grimaced and simply said "Nissan." That is "even a Nissan would do, man, anything but this."
I asked why and his face turned poetic again as he shook his head softly, a smirk and eyebrows raised, authoritative: "3arabeetak mish 3aatefeya." My car is not emotional? No, I shouldn't criticise his use of the word 3atefeya, as it actually is generally taken to mean sentimental when used describe inanimate objects, like ringtones, stuffed animals or sunglasses.
On that note, I invite whoever reads this to join me in reflecting on the correlation of sentimentality to form. Ay, 3atefeyyet el shei2 wa se7net man yamlokoh.
*From Hans Wier's Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, 1980 edition.