My Car Does That?

Wait . . . Dad?


How come there are two cup holders on the car door?

Well, there are lots of good reasons.

Like what?

Well, honestly, I have no idea.

And I don't.

I have no good reason for why there would be two cup holders designed into the side of the back passenger door, along with the third set of cup holders at his feet and a forth set on the console that pulls down in the center of the back seat.

Maybe it's because during long drives, we simply can't be trusted to transition cleanly between beverages. Maybe we're not expected to finish our coffee before we start in on our medium cokes, and the trash can provided at the exit to every drive-thru is just a bit too far for us to reach.

This clearly wasn't a problem back when we could reasonably throw trash out the window.

The 70's were wild man, wild.

The question lead me to think about all kinds of features available in my seven seat road apartment. So many things built into the vehicle that I'm still discovering more everytime I think about it.

And that's not unusual is it?

Back in the nineties, my wife and I bought a wooden book shelf for her bedroom (we were only just dating then) and as we lugged the thing through the store she kept mentioning that there was no way that box was going to fit in her two door Honda.

"Don't worry about it." I kept replying.

When we got out to her car, I opened the trunk, shifted a few things around, unclicked the lock on the back seats and folded them down. I slid the large box gently through the trunk in to the back seat with zero fuss and shut the trunk lid. She stared agap in shock.

"My car does that?"

Of course it does. But, honeslty, how would she know? Why would that have been a reasonable feature to someone who doesn't get asked to move friends? Why would a tiny four cylinder Honda ever need to transport furniture?

And to be perfectly honest, this is why our marriage is as awesome as it is. We both start doing things that seems impossible to the other and then we stand agap when the impossible becomes no big deal. The fact that we trust one another enough not to freak out every time is how we move mountains.

This story might seem a bit mysogenistic, but to follow up, four days ago I shipped my son off with his grandfather and as I was walking away I noticed that my father was futzing with Calvin's seat belt. The seats sat low and the chest harness was uncomfortably in the kid's face. I turned, opened the passenger door, reached up to the top of the belt and lowered it to a more comfortable postion.

My father, no slouch in basic mechanics said "I didn't even know the car did that?"

Cause why would he?

He grew up in an era before seat belts were mandatory, and his children were tall enough not to need it by the time an adjustable seatbelt height became an option.

Concurrently, I was driving my brother's Accord a few weeks ago, and was terrified by all the bells a whistles on the dash. There were like fifty different colored symbols blinking on and off that I had never ever seen before. In my expereince, when some thing on the dash lights up, you got problems son, but apparently a red flashing corpse being attacked by bees is just Honda's way of telling you that there is a motorcycle in your blind spot.

The single worst feature of this car, a programmable driver's seat, that automatically moves to the position suited to the car's main driver. I get in an immediatly asked my brother if he was suddenly a four foot eight pigmy anorexic.

"It's programmed for my wife."

(I will mention here that my brother's wife is a perfrectly proportioned girl and not a four foot eight pigmy anorexic.)

So I spend about twenty two minutes making adjustments on four different axis' so that I could reach the pedals and not have the stearing wheel scrape my butthole.

The funny thing was, after I handed the keys back to him and he got in, he was like "Damn dude, what're you like, some circus midget who lost both legs?"

Apparently he had forgotten that his own car would automatically adjust to his perfectly protortioned wife. A feature that is as easy to forget as a Pepsi commercial.

The best feature I've ever had in a car ever was in my '64 Galaxie that had the ignition switch on the left hand side of the stearing column. And I'll tell you why;

I'm left handed. But when I turn off my car and remove the keys, I insitinctively put the keys in my right pocket. Cause the ignition switch is on the right hand side and the keys end up in my right hand. Super simple stuff.

But every time my arms are loaded with things like groceries or equipment or the bags of stuff my son needs from one location to the next, I aways find my right arm carrying the burden with the keys in my right pocket.

Every stupid time I have to put down everything in my arms, get the keys out of my pocket so I can unlock the front door with my left hand. (Yes, I have and still do try to reach the keys in my right pocket with my left hand, but it never works.)

If there is any single feature that would convince me to purchase another car it would be an ignition switch on the left side of the stearing column.

The internal combustion engine is over a hundred years old and aside from the automatic transmission and fuel injection, there really ain't much technological difference between a Maserati and a Model T. So design teams, along with the chihuahua yelping of the marketing department have really nothing better to do than to sit around and create 'What if?' scenarios.

The end results, a back seat that lowers, adjustable seat belts, a rear camera that lets you see the Razor Scooter before you back over it, these things are a nifty compliment to the utility, safety, and comfortability of our driving experience.

Then there are other features that occur cause of cost and accessibility. Most people are right handed, ergo, right handed ignition switches. Most people don't ever bother changing their own flat tires, ergo, weak complicated tools that are tough to find, hard to access and remarkably dangerous to operate on the side of the freeway, but are lighter for better gas mileage.

And then there are nonesense features. The ones that fill the late night 'What if?' scenarios.

When asked again why there are five cup holders for every passenger, or why a siren goes off when a mini-van in lane two comes withing eighteen yards of your rear bumper, the answer is pretty simple too:

Marketing thinks you're stupid, fat and lazy and that you are unsure of how to use a mirror.

Aside from the left handed ignition switch I'm still waiting for the feature that turns a bumper to bumper waste land into a coastal road trip where the destination is a beach side hotel instead of a SaveMart.

I'll just push a big red button and off we go.

My wife will be surprised at first.

"My car does that?" she'll ask.

"Yes." I'll say. "Yes it does."

No comments:

Post a Comment