Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Driving Miss Crankette Crazy

Works every time. If you roll into a Toyota dealership on a bicycle, a salesman comes out and says, "Are you looking for a hybrid?" It's almost as if I was hugging a tree on the handlebars.
No, I'm not looking for a hybrid. I am a hybrid. I ride a bike for most of my miles, which are around town, but when it comes to highway and back road driving I'm a typical doofus American. I want a car that handles well, looks good and doesn't blow around like a golf cart. I have car disease, and I can afford to have it because I personally average about 75 miles a gallon, counting both my vehicles and the dabs of grease I put on the chain of one of them.
My car disease is full blown right now, because I'm car shopping, even if I stop in to look at the spiffy new Camrys on a Specialized commuter bike. The Camry comes in a hybrid model, but there's also one with a potent V-6 (rated at 31 mpg, so there.) You can see I'm far gone here. For once in my life, I want a car that can get on a freeway without a tail wind and I want to be surrounded by more airbags than a buffet table at a political convention. And I don't really want a Camry, which is Japanese for "AARP." I want to step up to an Acura TL (29 mpg and, hey, a Consumer Reports pick).
It would be nice if the car had safety restraints to prevent injury to my marriage, but that's my problem. I'm bugging my wife, the Crankette, with constant car talk.
This car disease runs in my family. My father bought a car every time his old one bored him, even though there were very few places to drive his cars on Cape Cod, except to drive my mother crazy, and to the refuge of her old Dodge van. The old man's last car was a BMW that was fast enough to get him to the pub and back before his oxygen tank ran out, and in previous years he bought, among many other vehicles, a Mustang convertible, a Miata, two Mercedes, a Rolls Royce (used and mostly not running), an International Harvester Scout and a Pacer. He was probably the only man in the history of the world to own both a Rolls and a Pacer. He was a genuine car nut, and when he walked up to a dealership the salesmen came running.
Don't worry, this will all be over soon. My old Honda, which handles like a turd on a roller skate and needs major work, will soon be replaced and I'll have to shut up and be happy with whatever lovely metal box I've chosen to sit in for the next decade.
I know I'll still be happier on the bike.
But, vroom-vroom!


Blogger Dagny said...

A guy at work just got a Nissan 350Z. I am soooo jealous. V-6 and a 6-speed. *sigh*

12:10 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

"Camry" may be Japanese for "AARP," but I've never owned a car I liked better than my current 2002 Camry. Then again, I once drove an MGB for 10 years so my standards may be low.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Dagny said...

Congrats on the link in SFist!

2:58 PM  
Anonymous kudzu said...

Dear Hybrid -- Thanks for this great post. Good luck on finding the right car. I think that riding a bike into a dealership is almost as bad as being a female and going to one -- preconceptions take over the sales staff.

PS Your dad must have been a pistol!

3:41 PM  
Blogger PEFACommish said...

You're at the age when you're supposed to be nostalgic for your childhood dreams. If you want some vroom, how about a 1968 GTO. Vrrrrrooooooommm!!

8:02 PM  
Anonymous cranky said...

Dagny, thanks for the heads-up on the link in SFist. What an honor. As for the Nissan 350Z, my wife won't let me have one, and as for the '68 GTO, my youthful fantasy car was a Mercedes 300SL gullwing and my accountant won't let me have one. Also, I really did like the Camry and, don't tell anyone, but I'm a card-carrying member of AARP. For the Motel 6 discounts only, of course.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I am laughing my butt off. I own both an old Honda AND a Camry. :-)

4:19 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

"my youthful fantasy car was a Mercedes 300SL gullwing"

Me too.{sigh}

7:12 AM  
Blogger PEFACommish said...

Hey, I am your accountant, and I say you can have that 300SL if you agree to store it in my garage.

11:47 AM  
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10:35 AM  

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