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Category Archives: Car Talk

We Can’t Drive Sixty-Five

We went car shopping this weekend, and encountered a curious and frustrating new phenomenon. At three consecutive dealerships, we were told that test drives could include street driving only.  No highways.

When we balked at this restriction, two out of the three dealerships bent the rules for us, but the third one stood firm.  As I don’t recall having this trouble when we shopped for cars last year, I can only assume this is a new policy, one that is the product of skittish new insurance rules.

I’m not sure what astounds me more: that a car dealership would expect someone to purchase a vehicle they have never driven on the highway, or that customers are ostensibly playing along.  Who in their right mind would buy a car they have never driven over 35 mph?  When we got the final “no” from dealership number three, we told them politely we wouldn’t be wasting any more of their time.  Or purchasing any of their cars.  And we left.

A test drive that never leaves third gear isn’t foreplay.  It’s a tease.

Our Car Crash, or: The Perils Of Attempted Yoga

A week ago Saturday, C and I got into a car accident while trying to drive to a yoga class. This is ironic in that “attempted yoga” ended up being the culprit that led to a week of stress for the two of us.

Totally the other driver’s fault, of course. This unfortunate woman was listening to her navigation system and rolled through a stop sign, unaware that the major avenue she was crossing did not have stop signs. We couldn’t brake in time and hit her passenger side door. Our airbag deployed, burning C’s thumbs, which were on the wheel, but otherwise having no effect. I got a small dose of whiplash which led to a backboard and a stretcher and a dramatic ambulance ride to Santa Monica hospital. Good times were had by all.

I will spare you any overwrought analysis of the car crash, but will make the following observations:

1. Contrary to popular belief, car crashes do not happen in slow motion. They do, however, provoke multiple episodes of instant replay.

2. When airbags explode open, they really explode. As in, there is an explosion. Which involves heat that burns thumbs, and a chemical reaction that has a distinct odor. My first sensory observation after the impact, a split second before the pain kicked in, was a strange burning smell.

3. It’s worse to be the driver. My injuries were perhaps more serious and dramatic than C’s, but her scars (physical and mental) will take longer to heal. After the crash, I felt angry, but that quickly subsided after 20 minutes or so. C felt guilty for a week (even though it was the other driver’s fault). Guilt is worse.

4. I continue to dislike automotive navigation systems. I still believe they cause more problems than they solve, which is why they rank right behind automatic toilets on my list of least favorite man-made contraptions.

5. I really like Vicodin. I mean, seriously, I really do. It’s–what’s the word?–ah yes: delightful. So what if it made me constipated and unproductive for much of the following week. Nobody’s perfect, right?

Now, 10 days later, I’m feeling mostly better from the whiplash, although my back and neck are still knotted up. It looks like C’s car is totaled, so we have some car shopping in our future, which thrills neither of us. We both still flinch more than usual while driving these days. That jumpiness will take a while to subside.

Nobody wants to be in a car crash, but these things happen. You just hope that, when they do, they are small enough that you can walk away, that the event can serve as a wake-up call and not a goodnight.

So here we are, wide awake, thankful, over-worked, and in need of a good stretch.