I wanted to make this my 1993 Christmas card, but my erstwhile girlfriend wouldn’t let me
I have had nothing but shitty, shitty, shitty cars. Besides a 1971 white Karmann Ghia that I bought with summer job money, I have been on the receiving end of some of the worst vehicles ever created. The best that could said for them is they moved forward when you stepped on the gas pedal, but many of them, alas, didn’t even do that.
The Volvo pictured above was given to me for $100 by my brother Kent, and while it surely had its heyday in 1968, by the time I got it, you had to shove screwdrivers into the upholstery to keep the windows from falling inside the doors. The ignition started with a locker key, and occasionally the accelerator pedal would break, and I had to accelerate by pulling speaker wire attached to the idler.
My next car, a white diesel Rabbit, lost both first and second gear, meaning I had to start it by pushing it down a hill. My VW Fox had no door handles and seized on a LA freeway going 75mph. And my last car, a white Mustang convertible, still had vials of spent cocaine burned into the carpet, the top was patched with packing tape, and it gave off the smell of burning hair when it went more than 50 miles per hour.
I mention this because we bought a car yesterday. It is the first new car I have ever had. It is a Toyota Prius, and it fucking ROCKS THE FREE WORLD!!!
We’ve been obsessing over the Prius since last year’s model, so when we read the specs of the 2004 version, we went ahead and put our deposit down and hoped for the best. In the meantime, it became Motor Trends’ Car of the Year, which opened a floodgate of interest, and now we’re told ours is one of the first in NYC, and there is a 9 to 11-month waiting list. In California, the wait is a year and a half. Needless to say, we feel utterly blessed.
You don’t use your car keys like normal; you just need them in your pocket. They wirelessly open the doors and start the engine with the push of a button. The car is so quiet that Tessa accidentally left it running during the entirety of “Return of the King,” meaning that any Tolkein fan could have forgone Middle Earth and driven off with the Future. The base price is $19K, and ours came with a wicked video navigation system, a 9-speaker stereo, and an impenetrable anti-theft mechanism (my beloved wife notwithstanding). No, there is no “plugging it in,” and it goes as fast as you want.
Anyone with serious cock issues shouldn’t buy the Prius; it doesn’t rev and jolt out of intersections like most assholes in their Yukons. In fact, the physical feel of driving is so different that it takes some getting used to. At a full stop, the engine shuts off and you can hear whispers. On the highway, you can hear the bass of your favorite songs again. The transmission is so seamless that it almost feels like you’re on a mag-lev train, floating above the sand like the car Luke had in “Star Wars.”
We were willing to put up with a tiny car, but, like an Escher painting or the plot of House of Leaves, the interior seems to measure bigger than the car’s exterior. It’s called a “compact,” but the room inside – because of the smaller engine and battery – gives you the legroom and storage of a midsize. There’s more room in the back seat than the Land Rover, swear to god.
And it gets 60 miles a gallon in the city. In other words, you can drive 720 miles through Manhattan before you need to get more gas. This was why we’re doing this: we wanted to Stick It To The Man as hard as we possibly could. Dick Cheney and the Bush family is not getting one more fucking red cent from our oil purchases than we can bear. And since the car is almost zero-emissions, we are ensuring that our grandkids won’t have to wear SPF 400 sunscreen when it’s cloudy.
Hopefully, we can act as emissaries for this little baby, showing people that you don’t have to drive a cramped, slow car shaped like a Advil gelcap in order to get insane mileage. Put your name on the list and help us Kick the Man in the Nuts!