Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Love My Yaris

I love my car. A bright lagoon blue, it's easy to pick out in parking lots amongst the sea of boring grey and white cars. Being an automatic, zippy little thing, it's fun and easy to drive too-I always have driven a stick shift, although I've never really been that good at it. The compact size means my car fits perfectly in my garage and is just the right size for city driving. When we bought the Yaris in September last year it was actually the first car I had ever picked out on my own, without my husband's intervention. He's the car guy-the one who knows about engines and what's good or not, whereas I usually go for color and the look of the car. He  had lobbied for a larger vehicle for me to drive, but I saw this car all shiny and cute on the lot and after a test drive, knew it was what I wanted.

John has always been particular about his cars. When we met he had a Bonneville SSE, completely loaded with everything you could ever want. He made me take my shoes off when I got in it. With our Corolla, he's similarly protective. In fact, he has specific rules:

1. park as far away from other cars in the parking lot as possible, usually by a curb
2. don't park near trucks, clunkers, or cars with an N or L on them
3. stand beside the car on the ferry to make sure nobody slams their door into the side of the car (sadly, this has happened to us before)
4. don't ever leave any garbage in it. Ever.

Any scratch would be met with, "What did you do?" even if the offender was a rouge shopping cart on Boxing Day in an empty parking lot. In the past twenty years, I've taken a lot of heat for little things happening to our cars so when I got the keys for the Yaris, I figured what was good for him was good for me, too.

"Be nice to my car! Don't you dare put a scratch in it or I'm going to be REALLY UPSET. And take your garbage, mister!"

Once he drove it on a gravel road and I voiced my displeasure, loudly, every time we could hear a pebble hit the paint.

"You wouldn't have taken YOUR car on this road, yet you take MINE and now the paint will all be chipped and it's dirty after I just washed it. I don't want paint chips. They rust."

Hey, if he can, so can I, right? It's my baby. I wash it carefully. Vacuum it often. Clean it out all the time, and park it in the farthest spot of a parking lot every single time. Don't call me obssessed. I just really, genuinely, love my car. We go everywhere in the Lower Mainland in it, and I love how easy it is to drive.

For some reason, car rides have always resulted in some really great conversations. On Saturday as we drove through Surrey to catch the skytrain to go to Eat Vancouver, Kevin began telling me about a friend of his who had bought a really fancy car, and commented that he would love to get a really nice car one day.

"Kev, I understand the draw but you have to understand something. Nice cars are here today and gone tomorrow. Your Dad had a $42,000 car back in 1990 that he loved and kept in mint condition, and all it took was 5 seconds and someone else not paying attention for it to be completely totalled. Being rear ended on the Oak Street bridge at 80 km/hr was awful, and it's even more frustrating when it's completely not your fault. So while they may seem appealing, I've never had a need for a fancy car. You may drive carefully and park it far away in the lots so it doesn't get dinged, but all it takes is one person not paying attention and it's toast."

Um, those words? Totally prophetic.

Three minutes later, as we stopped in a dedicated turning lane to go right onto Fraser Highway to allow oncoming traffic to pass, another car plowed right into us.

Being rear ended is weird; at first there's the initial bump and for a brief second you wonder what is going on, and then the impact really hits, sending you flying and seat belts snapping back. Kevin was taking a sip of coffee and almost ended up wearing the whole thing, while I had been leaning over the steering wheel looking for a break in the traffic before proceeding.

Later, we were grateful for a lot of things; the mug was plastic and not Kevin's usual metal mug, which may have broken his teeth or a paper Starbucks one, which would've showered us both with hot coffee. The airbags didn't go off, which was lucky because since I was leaning over,  I was very close to the steering wheel and would've been seriously injured. There was nothing in the backseat to go flying because just before we left I had cleaned out the entire car of extra stuff. I had also tucked some Tylenol into my purse, which is unusual, but for some reason I had a feeling we might need it.

Through jangled nerves information was exchanged, pictures taken, and before long we were on our way again. I'll admit that my lower lip settled into a pout and I shook my head (now with a sore neck muscles), slightly.

"My poor, poor car. What CRAPPY LUCK." Despite the minimal looking damage, I wasn't fooled; being hit at that speed likely means there's more damage than meets the eye.

Kevin nodded sadly in support.

"Oh well. Cars can be fixed. The important lesson here? You buy one that is well made. One that's reliable. One that keeps US safe, and this baby?"  My hand reached over to lovingly stroke the dashboard as I continued,

"She is AWESOME."

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