Dude, Where’s My Car?


My new car is smarter than me — and a better driver.
And younger.
If it could clean toilets and wrap presents, I’d totally be out of a job.
Yeah, this vehicle is pretty sweet. It’s also not my old car.
Which I miss.
It was Minivan No. 2. Familiar and reliable and I didn’t have to worry if someone scratched it or dinged it because, heck, that happened right off the rip. It had been in the carport for only a matter of hours before No. 3 ran his bike smack into the bumper. He was unscathed. The bumper, not so much. This was its very first tattoo…
It looks very much like an upside down ‘J.’ Coincidence? I think not*.
The minivan may have been shiny silver, but it was a Dumpster on wheels. As I was cleaning it out for the new owners, I was digging Cheerios out of the seats. Cheerios. My kids are teenagers.
As I looked around at all the dog hair and sticky soda smears and abandoned pencils and pens and wrappers, I realized I don’t deserve a new car.
As much as it was an initial soul suck to become a minivan driver lo those many years ago, I adapted and thrived. It was basic and I knew how to open the doors. That’s not quite the case with this new car, a Subaru something or other, that is super swank but too complicated for this simple, non-tech driver. I was annoyed when I couldn’t get it to even start (Hint: You have to have your foot on the brake).
I gotta admit, I love that I just push a button to start the engine and don’t have to jam a key into it and apparently, if the fob is in the car, the doors won’t lock. Gamechanger. I have locked myself out of the car and required rescuing too many times to count.
This car even comes with an app. An app! Sooooo 21st century — but I am about at the 19th century level. Which doesn’t bode well for me figuring out how to open the roof. I only just discovered I can yell “Hey Siri” at my iPhone and get her to do my texting and calling for me.
I took a crack at the new car’s owner’s manual, which is, as you’d expect from a car that comes with its own app, pretty much bible-sized. My husband — who is into all the tech — says that if someone steals it, you can disable the car. That is not a feature a minivan needs.
Apparently I can also remotely start the car with my phone. In theory. I still don’t quite get how to do filters on Instagram. No. 3, meanwhile, has figured out how to adjust the base on the stereo and make the car really thump.
So now I have a shiny car that goes boom and feels way too nice for me. It will correct my steering if I veer too far one way or the other; if something looks like an obstacle in front of me, it’ll brake for me. I’m scared to drive it because I feel too dumb to be behind the wheel, and it’s disconcertingly clean. Plus, it doesn’t smell like sweaty feet or dog or In-N-Out or farts. After a few trips home from basketball practice, I expect that’ll all be remedied and my car will once again smell like an old crime scene.
But I know what you’re worried about. So let me go ahead and put your mind at ease: Yes, this vehicle seats 7 so I can still drive your kid and a bunch of others around. See? This story has a happily ever Uber ending.
*No. 3’s name starts with the letter ‘J.’

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