A few weeks ago I purchased a new-to-me used 2013 vehicle, not for vanity, but because my old car was rusting, didn’t always start and forced me to put more money into it than a disgruntled senior citizen puts pennies in the slots at a smoky casino.
So with another Michigan winter on the horizon—lord help us all—it was a proactive move that made me feel responsible—Yay! Safe, new car!—and simultaneously depressed that I had to spend such a large chunk of money on a car.
I hate cars.
Well, I don’t hate cars, but I don’t really know an RPM from REM and frankly have no interest in finding that out. But what I did find out soon enough is that my new car thinks I’m an idiot—and honestly, it’s probably right.
The first clue was when I thought the fancy new key was actually a weapon in disguise. Instead of the customary key I was used to, I was given this fancy thing that ejects with a push of the button. Along with starting my new car, I plan to use it as a silver spear of self-defense should the occasion arise.
Once I got past the actual starting of the car, there was the small matter of the NASA-like dashboard. Not only does it let me know how fast I’m going, but also tire pressure, oil levels, temperature, radio volume and the first 1,203 digits of Pi.
In addition, I can program in 36 different radio stations to my “Favorites” bar, which is handy considering I listen to about six different stations. Ever. But should I decide that I want to get into Mexican rap, there is apparently an XM station for that, my amigos.
When I put the car in reverse, a video camera takes over that console and shows me what’s behind the car. Handy if there is something directly behind my vehicle. Not so much if a juvenile mouth breather on a scooter comes dashing across from the side. However, the kicker is that while I’m backing up I am NOT allowed to change the radio station or adjust the temperature.
Very tricky, my four-wheeled friend.
Speaking of the temperature, there are just too many options. If I’m cold, I want to be warm, but I don’t know if the little arrows pointing at the person on the screen will blast up through the front vents or defrost my front windows and possibly a Thanksgiving turkey.
But the biggest surprise was when I was driving along pushing buttons and had a temporary moment of panic. While I rarely question my bladder control, the seat of my pants got so warm that I wondered if I had reached a stage of not only vehicular incompetence, but also incontinence.
I was relieved—no pun intended—to find it was just heated seats. Another example of why I’m why I can’t have nice things.
On the upside, it only takes me about 10 minutes to find my car in a parking lot now instead of still looking for the old one, and I expect it will only take 25 more trips to the gas station to remember that the gas tank is on the opposite side it was on my old Blazer.
But at least I have the On Star person to talk to for free for the next two months before my trial runs out, as there are times that I just need to vent. They often seem a bit confused that I’m not actually directionally lost, just wandering a bit emotionally, but I think it’s a nice break for them, too.
Start your engines.
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