Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Breaking in the new car...


I have to admit, this story has very little to do with any sort of issue of import relating to women. However, this woman needs someone to talk to, and, blogosphere, you're it.

Recently, we bought a new car. My husband and I were so excited to get rid of our 2000 Jetta which turned out to be a piece of junk. It was a beautiful car when we bought it (and since both of us are German teachers, we thought we were so cool at the time - you know the whole Fahrvergn├╝gen/witty VW commercial thing), but, after a few years, the interior began to fall apart and it was like an avalanche from then on; more and more repairs needed to be done and the car was getting to be a total financial burden.

Since my husband and I try to be environmentally responsible, we bought a Toyota Prius, one of those cool hybrid cars. It's a nifty vehicle - sleek, black, and modern. We are also pleased that Consumer Reports gave it top ratings on reliability. We're counting on that, so that we don't blow as much money on it as we did fixing all of the problems on our junk-o-rama-Jetta.

We are encountering some issues with the Prius, though. First, my husband just very well might cause the demise of our entire family in that car. The Prius has a neat computer screen on the dashboard from which you can control many aspects of the car's performance. It also displays the gas mileage you're getting and updates it continually, so you can see it rise and fall as you drive. The more responsibly you drive (no lead foot driving - easy on the accelerating and braking), the higher your gas mileage goes. Of course, being a guy, particularly a guy who loves competition and the rewards that go along with good performance, my husband can't keep his eyes off of that computer and the gas mileage updates. If he is the passenger, there is a lot of back seat driving that the driver has to put up with: "Your gas mileage is tanking!! Ease off of the accelerator!" If he is the driver, he barely has his eyes on the road - they're fixed on that d*** computer. And if I'm not in the car, I'm typically scared to death for my son who is with him, because then not only are his eyes not on the road, but at least one hand is not on the steering wheel, as he's calling me up on his cell phone to blast into my ear: "54 MILES PER GALLON, BRENDA!!! Can you BELIEVE that?? No, no WAIT! 55 MILES PER GALLON!!!!"

And if my husband doesn't cause us to get into an accident that's going to wreck our precious new car, other Houstonian drivers will. Sometimes, I absolutely despise driving in Houston. The experience is often chaotic and terrifying. Streets are strewn with litter in many places and things fly off of the backs of trucks all of the time. My husband and I have seen buckets, huge plastic garbage bags filled with clothes, sofa cushions, and even a ladder fly off of trucks going down the HIGHWAY. Yes, the HIGHWAY. How scary do you think that is going 65 miles per hour?? Pretty darn scary!!

So, the other day, two things happened to me in our Prius in the course of just one day. Driving home from my son's school, I see a brown lunch bag fly up from under the car in front of me. It was too late to avoid it, so I drive over it thinking it was just filled with air. Nope. All of a sudden I hear, "CLANK, CLUNK, BANG!" under my car. I come home to find a huge set of keys with about 15 keys on it nestled in the metal rim of the car that creates a semicircle above and around the top of the tire. Apparently, that was in the lunch bag. I inspect the tire, and it appears fine.

Later that day, I'm driving onto the entrance ramp of the highway, and a large dump truck is in front of me. You know what's coming. A huge chunk of something flies out of the dump truck. I'm too busy watching it hurl toward me thinking, "Please don't hit our new car. Please don't hit our new car. Please don't hit our new car," to think to look at the truck's license plate and note the company name on the truck which my husband asks me about later. Of course, the huge chunk of something hits our hood and when I arrive at my destination, I find a nice, big ding in the paint job.

Plus, I have a flat tire from the keys.


  1. I never thought I would agree with Kurt but...

    Those gas mileage things are addictive!! We have one in our Cruiser and I watch mine all the time. 55 is incredible! I have gotten 26.5 at my best:-)

  2. Oh arg!
    I got a broken windshield this week end.