I was driving to work the other day when I saw a Nissan Altima with a body kit. This was wrong. Altimas should not ever be installed with body kits. I know that some teenagers itch so badly to show off how awesome they are that the moment their parents give them a car, they'll slap a body kit on it no matter what it is, but this opportunity is actually their first big chance to exercise some maturity. If your parents give you a hand-me-down car that is in no way sexy or sporty, do not install a body kit even if kits are made for it. Please.
I think about cars a fair amount. When I interviewed for a special projects position at an automobile publication, I tried to push my car knowledge as hard as I could. It's not that I know a ton about cars. But I do know more than "It just goes" and turning the key in the ignition. I can name or make a decent guess what's behind me on the road at night by looking at the headlights. I know roughly which cars accelerate and handle better than mine. About the interview... I did know something about online distribution of direct marketing materials, and I got the job.
Just now I was driving on the 110 when I was flagrantly and egregiously cut off by a Mercedes-Benz sedan dating from about the late '70s. It was one of those hulking diesel boats they used to make. I bet they were svelte by the standards of the time. These cars are probably pretty nimble, but I was surprised because the owners of these cars are usually very conservative drivers. This guy made a lane change at 65 miles per hour with less than a yard of clearance on front and behind, on the first freeway every constructed in the United States... one meant for Model Ts to cruise at 35 miles per hour. My jaw dropped and I couldn't help reading the license plate: "I'm CJG." Sigh. Yes, nice to meet you, CJG.
CJG surprised me because most Benz owners are too sedate to pull such stunts unless they have, say, an SL Roadster. BMW drivers are much more likely to do this stuff. These people stomp on their accelerators all the time: on-ramps, intersections, or any open space in the road, whether on an interstate or in a residential area. X5 owners especially. I actually have formulated an automobile-jerk pecking order. It starts very high up, since in Los Angeles, you get the opportunity to be cut off by all sorts of exotic and envy-inducing automobiles.
Lamborghinis and Ferraris I assume to be driven by jerks. Always. But still, I stare at every Maranello I see. I don't care who I'm giving free hard-ons to, and Ferrari drivers, I know you are. Rolls-Royces, Maibachs and, surprisingly, Maseratis, are always driven slowly, no matter the personality of the driver behind the wheel. Porsches are sometimes driven by jerks, and sometimes by rich people who don't need to massage their egos by effortlessly weaving in and out of traffic and executing daredevil moves. Boxster drivers are way bigger idiots than 911 drivers. Maybe because Boxsters cost less. Cayenne drivers are either level-headed or completely out of their minds. I can't blame them... they're driving a Porsche that's an SUV. All other SUV, over-pretty pickup-truck, Mustang, Corvette, and drivers I assume are too busy thinking about how good they look in their rides to pay attention to the road. I try to stay far away from them all.
Minivan drivers and drivers of mid-priced cars, whether two-door or four-door, are rational and generally considerate of their investments and of life and limb. Economy car drivers are either rational or hot-doggers, but when you get hot-doggers on this type of car you have to be careful: they don't quite have the driving skills or the equipment to do their stuff safely. Strangely, I never see Kias or Hyundais driving any other way besides slowly and carefully. Is this because they don't want to, or because they can't? Are they a hidden menace begging awakening? I wonder.
Does anyone else ever think about this stuff?
The Boxster driver thing, I've never seen a man in a Boxster, they're like a relatively expensive female hairdresser's car. Like a step up from a horrid Vauxhall Tigra, or Opel Tigra they’re called your end I think. I love 911's, I hate Ferrari's and Lamborghini’s, Lamborghini’s look great but they’re just too big. RR's, I always thought, I'd love to own one, but having driven one I couldn't help but exclaim, "This is shit! This is shit!" Over and over again. It had everything from stashed brollies in the door panels to GPS, televisions and… Fucking, optional blow up doll passenger… What a giant hunk of shit they are. The one I drove, when I started it up, had the Spirit of Ecstasy emerge from a lil hidden hatch on the hood like a superstar on a stage, was like: Ta-da! I half expected a little silver audience to pop up in front of it and start clapping. Obviously it’s so the Spirit doesn’t get ripped off by some erstwhile thief, pah, take the damn thing, it’s the tackiest emblem I’ve ever seen on a car.
Chevrolet has never really gone down well over here, and the most recent commercial doesn’t so much focus on any particular car model, as it does on the Chevrolet motif. Nobody in the UK, I dare say, unless completely nuts about cars could identify a Chevrolet. “Information Packs available. Press red now.” The advert says. American cars seem to either have rock solid suspension, which allows you to feel every grain of sand you drive over on the road, or they have the kind of suspension that bounces and doesn’t stop. Even days after you’ve parked up; the car is still wobbling from the last corner you turned. Engine sizes state-side too… S’like… Why? A sports car, excluding the likes of Porsche and Ferrari, and TVR over here, have engine sizes of 2.0. That’s it! Your end they’re 5.0… WTF? Performance and economy can walk together… lol You only have to look at the tuned up to frook Japanese boy racer cars to see that even a small economic car like, uh, a Daihatsu Charade Turbo! 1.1, can reach eighty miles an hour and transport McFly back through time… All in about four and a bit seconds. What’s with the tanker sized 5-6-7.0’s?
Here in the UK the prize for the dickheads of the roads go to the Sports models of shit family cars: Cavaliers, Escorts, Vectras, Novas, Mon-fucking-deos, Scobby-Doo Impreza’s. I don’t mind seeing these hunks of shit driving around with body kits on, but those that install Big Boar exhausts that are like a miniature NASA rocket silo stuck on the back of a car, they deserve to be shot. They make so much noise, and they sound so fast, but the kicker is, you hear them that much longer because the damn car its stuck to is going absolutely nowhere fast! BWWWOOOAAAAWWWHHMMM! But Toyota drivers take the cake and snatch the prize of Uber Wankpot Road Owners from the hands of BMW and Merc drivers, Celica’s and FTO’s are ten a penny and each and every one seems to engage in a car slalom when they hit the roads.
In answer to the question though, no, I don’t really think about this stuff. :)
by Ex Crimson Guard NCO at March 7, 2005 6:59 AM
I do. For instance, you never see a homely girl driving a Corvetter. But dull-lookers do drive Mustang 5.0s. And what to think of women who buzz about town in a Hummer. "Er, I'd like to test drive one of thos Blowjobs."
In traffic what bugs me the most are non-Harley motorcycle riders with that high-pitched whine they make as the go through their entire gear progression between one light and the next. At least they aren't allowed to drive between the lanes of stopped traffic like in CA. I was tempted to open my car door there. Splat!
by anna at March 7, 2005 7:49 AM
I love those titheads who hammer their cars at the lights. You're sitting next to them, I don't know, maybe playing a little Paul Weller and tapping your steering wheel while humming, look left and there he is, sitting low in his driving seat, examining your wheels. His engine revs, and the light goes amber... You watch him screech ahead, he is off!
Not thirty seconds later you ever so slowly pull up next to him again, still tapping your steering wheel as Mr Weller sings, "Wild wild wood." This time he doesn't look at your car, he is staring straight ahead. Aaah, the next set of lights, oh look... Red! Who'd have thought it. Exactly what was the point in approaching them 90 MPH? Now don't you feel like an absolute dick!
"High tide, mid afternoon
People fly by, in the traffics boom
Knowing, just where you are blowing
Getting to where you should be going..."
"... And I say, climbing, forever trying
find your way out... Of the wild, wild wood"
by Ex Crimson Guard NCO at March 7, 2005 9:47 AM
Ex - When we rev our engines, that means race. First one to the next red light wins. Something tells me, you lose often.
by Hank at March 7, 2005 10:50 AM
All I remember is the tank known as the Volvo DL from the 1980's. It looked like a shoe. My mom drove a maroon shoe.
by Lockheed at March 7, 2005 11:42 AM
Hank... Maybe when you rev your engine, that means race. When I rev mine it means the guy in the lane next to me is going to put his foot down and race away on his own, as I laugh my ass off, and hopefully, one day, I can cruise by as he's being given a speeding ticket. I'm sure the age restrictions are put down for reasons of maturity... Boys with toys applies to me, but a car ain't a toy. And anyhoo, when I see traffic lights ahead that are red, I see no point in speeding toward them. Something tells me you're one of the aforementioned titheads that I love so dearly.
by Ex Crimson Guard NCO at March 7, 2005 2:39 PM
Cars are the perfect medium for people to show off who they would like to be. It is a significant purchase, and many people that have excess money use cars to exemplify who they feel they are, or maybe who they will be one day. Each car has its own implied social status along with it, and a car is not as expensive nor expected to be around around as long as say a house.
So istead i find my time wondering if the man driving that benz is really overcompensating fro being poor as a child, the man in the lincoln overconpensating for his insecurities in bed, or that woman in the BMW saying "I can too". The cars and the pride people put into "what they drive" seems a little rediculous to me. I understand it influences the way people perceive you, which is important, but shouldn't your personality really what others base it on.
Then again I ride the bus, and my bus pass only impresses so many girls.
by dominathan at March 7, 2005 2:55 PM
Nothing says romance like "bus pass." It's weird, but I've never been on a public bus. I've nothing against them, it just hasn't come up.
by anna at March 7, 2005 6:12 PM
I rode the bus to work for a while, but it was so dirty. It was fun, though. I was going to write a post about it some time, but there's nothing like hearing every language but English all the way to work, and seeing little ladies with "Yo (heart) Jesus" lanyards cross themselves when we pass the church. There was a little club that sold homemade tamales on the 7:50 to Downtown. I never got around to getting any, and I bet they would've been awesome :(
by jean at March 8, 2005 12:26 AM
There's something about rubbing elbows with a random cross-section of humanity, with the upper crust who don't need to ride buses and the totally downtrodden who have nowhere to go excluded, that would just bum me out. No buses.
by anna at March 9, 2005 8:49 PM
Ex - By your definition, yes I would be one of them. Then again, at least half of the time people actually do race me... but I almost always win. :)
Anyways, I rode the bus to the mall in high school because I could drive. There really wasn't much else to do.
by Hank at March 11, 2005 7:26 AM