Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm Too Stupid for my Car

I'm posting Kimberly Hedrick's favourite article. This appeared in T&C about 2 years ago.

I’m Too Stupid For My Car:

My husband, Matt, & I finally bought a new car. A brand new sporty Pontiac Grand Prix. To make a long story short, we’ve never in our married life paid more than $2500 for ANY car. I’ve been driving a 20 year old Chrysler for what seems like forever. I quickly became amazed & confused at the technology in these “new fangled contraptions”. Which, of course, meant I would never in a million years be able to figure it all out. No surprise there, I guess. Compared to this, my old car was the Fred Flintstone buggy in a Jetson world. And, trust me folks, I’m much more comfortable in the stone ages. Allow me to tell you about the many features my car has, how I found out about them, & how badly I use them.

The first thing I found out was that the windshield wipers work – really, really well. How did I find that out, you ask? Well, we were bringing it home from the dealership on a beautiful, sunny day. The kids were in the car with me & Matt followed in his van. We were SOOO ready to look all cool in my sporty new car. And that’s when it happened. I accidentally hit the windshield wipers, & couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to turn them off. All 20 miles to my house, they were going at seemingly warp speed. The kids gradually slid down in their seats so as not to be seen with the crazy lady with the wipers on. I look in the rear view mirror & see Matt laughing so hard I thought he was going to get in an accident. This should have been my first clue that this was going to be WAY tougher than I thought.

My car came with Onstar. I’ve heard of it, but didn’t have a clue what it was or what it did. With that feature, my car has its own phone & number – ITS OWN PHONE NUMBER!! Man, it’s like Kit from Knight Rider with a Neanderthal at the wheel. The buttons for this curious new piece of technology are located discreetly in the rear view mirror (that, I know how to work – the mirror, I mean). There’s the phone button, the Onstar button & the emergency button. Thankfully, the emergency button is spaced farther over & has red markings. Unfortunately, the phone & Onstar buttons are right next to each other. (You’ve got to know where this is going). I love the phone feature, because I don’t have to find my cell phone, which is always at the bottom of my purse. So I use this feature, a lot. However, I seem to always push Onstar instead of the phone button. The operator comes on & says, “Hello, Mrs. Kells, what can I do for you today?” They were so sweet. But after getting it wrong for the hundredth time, this is what I get now: “Mrs. Kells (heavy sigh), did you push the wrong button again??” I was very proud, though, when one day I pushed the Onstar button by mistake. I searched my brain frantically for a reason other than the obvious, I’m an idiot. Ah-hah! I came up with, “Bubba! Did you hit that button? Bad dog! Sorry about that!” Happy with my quick thinking, I hung up - & hit the phone button on accident.

The car has an on board computer, that can tell me how many miles I can drive on the current tank of gas, the weather, if the tire pressure is low, & so on. It actually sends a monthly email to my husband, after giving itself a check up! This feature makes me laugh really hard. If I can't operate two simple buttons on a mirror, what in the world would I do with an entire computer? Besides, if I even tried to touch it, it would probably tell Matt on me.

Another cool little feature is that I can remote start my car up to 500 feet with my key chain. Honestly, at first, I was afraid to use it. I figured that as soon as a car this advanced had the opportunity to get away, I’d be staring at the tail lights. To this day, as I approach, I swear I see the headlights narrow like a child glaring at a spoonful of cough syrup. All the little computers are trying to decide if escape is possible. I wonder if it knows that even if it does manage to flee, Onstar will find it. Take THAT – stupid car!

All in all, all this technology is pretty much wasted on me. Maybe in a few years I’ll have figured out what all the buttons do. Right now, I’m afraid to touch the wrong one for fear I’ll find I have an ejector seat. Imagine my panic when it began to get dark & I couldn’t figure out how to turn the lights on! But, it has a nice, smooth ride, unlike the tank I used to drive. And, the kids & Matt know how things work (even Dakota, the 11 year old boy!). So, until I get used to it, I’ll have to always have one of them in the car with me. Too bad, though, because it has a really cool sound system. Guess it’ll be a while before I can blast Def Leppard. Oh, well. Times are changing, & either you go with it, or get out of the way. I’m looking into turning invisible.

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The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
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