I’m surprised the American car companies haven’t contacted me yet in their efforts to stay alive in this sucky economic environment. I have so many opinions about the perfect car. To stay competitive in the auto industry, a Ford or a GM only has to give me a jingle and I could tell them how to make the perfect car. They would in turn sell it, make billions, give me a little commission, make America feel good about buying local again, and everybody’s happy. It’s a win win win, as Michael Scott would say.
I love my car. And not to be picky, but there are some things that I would change about it in order to make it perfect. So I’m going to tell Eddie “Phone Company Guy” Whiteacre that he should start with the 2008 Prius as the base and add the following things:
An iPhone GPS. My iPhone has the most wonderful GPS. It tells me where things are - from the closest Subway to “someplace that sells gold dragees” - and I’m just waiting for it to show me the shelf at Barnes & Noble where the book I want is located, pay for it with my bank card and bleat out a robotic, “Thank you.” It’s the highest tech thing I own and know how to use properly. My car GPS, however, is terrific if you’re a physicist or a CIA operative or a Toyota engineer or a car GPS designer. It’s so complicated, you have to read an instruction book the size of the Coshocton County phone book in order to find your way home. (And the fact that I used that example proves I’m not exaggerating. The Coshocton County phone book is small for a phone book but big for a book that you’re supposed to keep in your glove box.) A good general rule to follow when making cars is: Make it simple enough that you can figure out how to use it without referring to a manual. No one reads the car manual. There isn’t a piano lesson long enough to make me so bored and stuck in my car that I’ll pull that sucker out and read it.
Tough Side Bumpers. Remember the old station wagons with the wood panels on the sides? Why did we stop driving that? The fact that you never saw one of those cars with a dented side tells you something about practicality and why cars don’t have it anymore. My perfect car will have an invisible shield of Kryptonite Plexiglass running around the sides, right at Walmart shopping cart level.
Friendly Reminders. I appreciate my car’s reminders that I don’t have my seat belt on, that I’m down to one bar on my gas gauge, and that I’m in reverse. But that high pitched beeping has got to stop getting all up in my face. I don’t have a death wish, I’m just forgetful. A simple reminder that, oopsy, you forgot to put your seat belt on, will suffice. That beep beep beep for 19 beeps and then beepbeepbeepbeepbeep for 30 more, that’s just begging me to go on the Internet and find out how to disable the whole shebang. A female voice, maybe Katherine O’Hara doing a Wisconsin accent, gently and softly reminding me to buckle up. That’d do it.
Warning Mark. This one I stole from Sandra D., who posted on a “Why Not” Web site. I’m pretty sure Sandra D. is the nicest genius I’ve ever not met. She invented in her head something that shoots a paintball-like mark at cars on the road that are driving badly. The mark stays on for an hour or so and serves as a warning to other cars on the road that - hey, you guys! Here comes a really bad driver! Sandra D. wins the award for best car improvement idea that helps others.
I’ve said before, several times (some of them just to rile up my conservative, buy-American, hybrid-hating friends) that I love my car and I intend to drive it until they pry the key fob from my arthritic claws and get me a hover craft with a handicapped license plate. But this perfect car I’ve put together could get me to switch. If the American car companies don’t screw it up by putting in a factory installed gun rack and bringing back ash trays.
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Labels: car improvements, Coshocton County phone book, Ford, GM, Prius, the perfect car, Toyota