Our car is so smart that it freaks me out. It knows when my phone is ringing and broadcasts the call through the stereo system, the kids can watch DVD's in the back on long trips (no more "Are we therrrrrrre yet?") and when I throw it into reverse, mini cams come on automatically and show me the view from behind.
All this for a child of the sixties. I used to ride in my mom's VW Beetle, the one that burst into flames spontaneously. We were riding along with Birghitta, my parent's friend from Sweden, who announced that she smelled smoke. I looked down at the space between the door and the seat:
"Flames!" I shouted.
|Hell, I'd drive it.|
We all burst out of the car. My mom grabbed someone's sweater and beat the flames into submission. Eventually they went out and we stood by the side of the road in rural Pennsylvania, listening to the wind in the pines. No cell phones were at hand, of course, nor phone booths either. Finally my mother climbed back into the car and started it up. It roared to life, and we all, without any other option, climbed back in and drove off.
So those are the kinds of cars I'm used to. My first car was my beloved Rodge the Dodge, a 1970 Dart that cost one hundred dollars. My sister's car was called Diny, short for Dinosaur, and it was a huge finned monster that sucked down gas but kept on going.
My friend drove a VW bus, complete with missing floorboards and heat that inexplicably only came on in the summer. We drove around Chester County, hugging a huge ghetto blaster that played any one of our mixed tapes (Bowie, Sinatra, Marley, Robert Gordon - we were an eclectic crew.) She used to park in front of Wawa with the door hanging open and the keys left in the ignition - daring someone to come and take the bus.
There was the Ford Pinto that one of my dates drove - yes, the car with the exploding gas tank. It heads most of the "Worst Cars of the 70's" lists. That was luxury compared to the vehicles in Mexico; I was hot and heavy with a guy in Monterrey, and some of the forms of transport literally raised the hair on my head. I particularly remember one car with a cracked windshield that I wedged myself into along with about fifteen of his friends... Good times...
So to move to a car that people actually seem to admire, with the DVD and the rear cameras, is very odd for me. At times, I miss the 8-track stereo and the cranked windows - surely they make more sense if you're going to fall off a bridge?
But I do love me some GPS. Since I have the homing instincts of a Dodo, not a pigeon, that thing comes in very, very handy.