Car Shopping

Mister owns a truck. It’s not the hugest truck but it’s big. Big trucks are fine for the country or even the suburbs but notsogreat in downtown areas. He’s cursed it when he’s worked downtown because it’s rather like being an elephant in a movie theatre. It’s simply too big. Parking is a nightmare and driving on skinny one-way streets is almost as bad.

Mister found out that his company will be relocating from just-outside-downtown Austin (where parking and traffic are reasonable) to downtown Austin in the next couple of months. The time has come, we have decided, to move away from a truck and onto something more manageable.

While he doesn’t want something small (he carries equipment pretty often due to his job as a video producer), he does want something with good gas mileage. And it has to be reliable.

Mister has been wanting a Prius since they first came out and has taken me to test drive them probably a dozen times (all I really care about are cupholders and how easy it is to listen to my songs). But last week we went to test drive a Prius–again–and I told him I wanted to drive it. While Mister and the lady selling the car were talking, I took the key and tried to start the car; “tried” to start the car. These newfangled cars!  They’ve changed a lot! (Obviously we haven’t bought a new car in ages).

Now you don’t even need a key for the ignition. You just press a button. That seems utterly crazy to me but I guess that’s how it’s done these days. I tried and tried to start the stupid Prius. I could not get it to drive. I could start it but not get it to go into “D”. After then tenth time of turning it off and then on again, I got out of the car in a huff. As usual, it turns out I am just dense when it comes to all things technical. Nobody mentioned you have to press the brake before you even start the car! Picky, picky!

Here’s a weird thing about driving a hybrid car: every time you come to a stoplight or slow down to make a turn, the car engine turns off and the battery turns on. Meaning the car goes from sounding like a normal car to sounding like nothing. In other words, I kept thinking that the car had just died. I grew up driving absolute crap cars that regularly died at intersections. I suppose I have some sort of residual Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder regarding this. After the fourth time the Prius went quiet at an intersection I gave up. I was sweating and panicky and I made Mister drive the rest of the time. I like my cars quiet all the time or noisy all the time. None of this half and half business.

The lady showing us the car mentioned that Prius drivers are 35% more likely to get tickets and break the speed limits than other drivers. She wasn’t sure why. I think it’s because there are too many air bags and seat belts. I think if there were a giant dagger in the middle of everyone’s steering wheels that we’d all be much more cautious drivers. Instead we have these airbags and sensors that make us feel all cuddly and safe inside our cars. We need something to make us feel edgy and unsafe all the time. That’s how to improve people’s driving.

Perhaps I’ll jot a note:

Dear Toyota,

Please make your cars noisier, more unsafe and more understandable for technologically idiotic people.

Thanks in advance,

J. Hildegard

stretch prius

6 thoughts on “Car Shopping

  1. I actually heard on the radio today, that the National Safety blah blah blah, is going to make a law that electric car manufacturers have to have their electric cars “make a noise” loud enough to be heard by pedestrians. Apparently, all that quietness is killing people who can’t hear them coming when they cross the street.

  2. The quietness freaks me out, also. When I (don’t) hear one, I think, “Boy, if only the von Trapp family had had a Prius, they wouldn’t have had to push their car out of the driveway to avoid the Nazis.”

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