Saturday, April 8, 2017

Cars, an ugly fact of life

The Goddess of Canadian Mobility is lacking from our automobile. 

While I love automobiles, I hate cars.

Automobiles take you places, allow you mobility and let you see the world.

A car gets stuck in traffic, requires insurance, belches pollution, and have to be replaced.

When my mother died, I decided to simplify.  I sold my Maxima SE, sold the Highlander she left me, and I bought a used base Prius, because it made a lot of sense.  No car payments, great mileage, the feeling of superiority that you get with owning a Prius.  And it came with that lovely new sense of superiority over other drivers.

When you own and drive a Prius, you know you are better than everyone else, because you are better than everyone else.  And you are getting 50 mpg.

Well, nothing lasts forever, and come seven years of owning said Prius, the husband got the new car bug.  First, he wanted a new car.  His employer was offering a huge deal on loaded, 2017 Nissan Leaf's - an all electric car.  The numbers for the car came to half of its actual sticker price.  $17,000 out the door.

Then we started looking into it deeper. We'd have to put in a driveway.  That is $12,500.  Then we'd have to install a charging station, another $900.  We got free charging at the husband's place of employment, but he likes driving his SUV because driving in Baltimore is like driving in Baghdad, and you kind of like seeing what incoming.  That meant that I would be left with a car that has a one hundred mile range before recharge.   And since we hope to break ground on an addition in 2018 or 2019, that would mean repairing the driveway damaged in the remodeling.

All of sudden, the good idea looked a whole lot less.

Still, the husband was convinced that the Prius needed to be replaced.  "What about a new 2017 Prius?" asks he.

Well, to be honest, they are fugly.  They look angry.  Prii (that is the plural) have never been beautiful cars.  Their form follows function.  But this new batch is nasty ugly.   Now you may think they are lovely.  But you are wrong.  They are fugly.

So I promised to keep an open mind, and we looked.  But seriously, what they hey, Toyota. These cars are are fugly.

Instead, we looked across the lot and saw a 2017 Prius V trim level 4.  The V is the station wagon version of the Prius.  The level four is the bells and whistles level.  There are five levels.  Levels two and three are not as nice as the four.  The five, well, that would ostentatious.

The Japanese have never great about naming cars.  Nissan had the "Fair Lady".  Diahatsu had the Charade.  Isuzu has the Esteem.  And Suzuki, bitches, and I am not making this shit up, had the "Every Joypop Turbo".

But we bought a Toyota Prius V.  First of all, it's a Prius V, as in "VEE".  Not as in the Roman numeral V, for five.  Never mind that the the thing has five doors, no.

"Do you know what the "V" stands for, the dealer asked?

Vigilante? Vampire, Viper, and "Vavavavoom?"

"No, 'Versatile'"

"Like Gypsy Rose Lee?"  When I said that, he looked at me odd and you could hear crickets.

So we settled the price, and I said farewell to my old friend, who will become a taxi cab in Washington, DC.

I like the new car.  I am fortunate to have a new car. But somehow, getting 50mph no longer makes me feel as superior as it once did.

It's hard  get juiced over a car that is a "Prius V Level 4".  I could get juiced over a Every Joypop Turbo, though.

There is something to be said for the ability to push a button and have Miss Toyota ask, "How may I help you, Cookie?"  And I say "Find me the closest grocery store."  And Miss Toyota says, "there are three within two miles, Acme, Ajax or Dented Cans R Us.  Which would prefer?"  I answer Ajax, and Miss Toyota says "Good choice.  Let me set up the navigation."

And if I push another button, she answers me in English (United Kingdom), Japanese, Spanish and French.  I tried the French, but her voice lacked the disdain and ennui that I felt I deserved.

Still, when I slide behind the wheel, seated on the vegan pleather seats, let my hand glide over the application station and HVAC controls and push the START button, resulting in total silence, and pull away from the curb, I really better am better than the people next door.

Not because of the Automobile.

But because they are Republicans.  


  1. That last line nearly had me snorting my precious gin over my keyboard!

    I used to love cars. Now, they are all either fugly or drab, and needlessly complicated. Even my love affair with Alfa Romeo has faded to ambivalence (but I still love Car, though, seeing as it's the last of the stylish Alfas of old).

    1. Sweet Jesus, YES! They are all do drab. Here in the states they are all either Red, Black, Silver, White or dark generic blue. And you used to get different colors each year. Not any more. I had a 1991 Honda Wagovan (small station wagon) that was the most beautiful shade of metallic blue. Loved that car.

    2. Ah, the Shuttle (that's what they were called over here) - quite distinctive, and I think I know the blue you're talking about. There was a Honda AeroDeck (Wiki says you didn't have them in the States) around here years and years ago that was beautiful metallic light blue - I always wanted one because it was so distinctive. I ended up with a Nissan B11 Sunny (Sentra) coupe in a very similar blue, though...

  2. I am driving a (used) 2001 hyundai elantra with 112K miles on it. spouse drives a (used) 2010 ford focus with 33K miles on it. we drive 'em til they die! I want my next car to be a kia soul.

  3. "Like Gypsy Rose Lee?"


    We are now in the process of getting rid of a car and getting something newer ... I loathe the idea but it must be done.

  4. You should have come down to our part of the world and gotten a fine new or certified pre-owned vehicle from none other than Mr. Muscato. He gets real steals for pals...

  5. Well, if that is an accurate description of your neighbors, then the bar isn't set very high. Enjoy your new car, and be as versatile as you like in the middle of the street.

  6. You'd be correct in how ugly the new Prius is. I look at one daily and go, "how did the designers think THIS was a good idea...........ever?" .....and you are better than most people.