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Then: Four doors and Air

Now: Vibrator & Voice Activator

I don’t know about you, but in my case, buying a car has never been a good experience, or a short one at that. No matter how well prepared I've been, it always takes about an hour to find the car I want (even when I get to the lot with the exact model in mind) and then five more to get through the financing.  So, we're talking the better part of a day.  

Usually upon arriving the salesmen descend upon me like vultures.  More often than not the car I've come to look at, isn't even on the lot, or if it is, it comes with so many catches that I'm soon looking at another model.  And I try to stick to my original intentions of putting X amount down and paying X amount per month.  But this too, always gets changed, once the sales guys starts running the numbers.  That's when I want to run away.  

But every time I try to leave, he reels me back in like fish on a hook.  And just like that fish, I always feel like I'm floundering around without enough air while making what the salesman calls the "deal of a lifetime."

Throughout my life, I've been through many such ordeals and nothing has changed.  The only thing different is the actual car I've purchased.  And in this respect there is a world of difference between my very first car, way back in the day, and the one I helped my daughter buy yesterday.

My first car, a 1960 Falcon, came with a key, windows that rolled up manually, an AM radio with six buttons for setting the stations, windshield wipers and of course tires, an ashtray and lighter.  Back then “luxury” meant four doors, electric windows, an electric antenna and sometimes an electric motor for convertibles.  Oh, and tinted windows and leather seats.    

Now- well- it's a whole different ballgame.  Gone are the ashtrays and lighters and in their place are a slew of features right out of an old science fiction novel.      

There is a digital readout telling you what song is playing on the AM/FM radio, CD or your iPod.  No more guessing what music you're listening to.  GPS systems to guide you to your destination. Hands free Bluetooth for using your cell phone with voice activation, so that you don't even have to dial any numbers.  Driver Memory.  Smart Cruise Control.  You name it.  The car has it.    

Some cars even come with discs, instead of keys.  This disc can be programmed to not only unlock the car as you approach it, but to roll down the windows, open the convertible top, unfold the side view mirrors (which had been folded-in when putting the car in Park) turn on the iPod, and adjust and warm the seats.  All before you're within a foot of your vehicle.  

With all this, I'm expecting a vibrator to come out and give me that happy feeling before the car takes me off to my destination.  

Because I'm sure that's what the future car will be like.  Totally hands free.  All we'll have say is, "Take me the beach."  And off the car will go.  "Play Satisfaction".  The music will start.  "Top down."   Down it comes.  "Warm my butt."  On goes the seat warmer.  “Call in sick for me, will you?”          

But there is one thing that technology can't improve on.  And those are the memories one makes while driving in their car.  It didn't matter that my little Falcon had manual windows and only two doors.  And it didn't matter that the seats were sticky in the summer and cold in the winter.  What mattered were all the hours I spent driving around with my friends creating memories that have lasted forever.  

I hope my daughter can make as many happy memories in this new gadget-filled car of hers as I did back then.

And maybe the next time I buy a car, I’ll be dealing with a robot!

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Jul 27, 2009
    • Love the picture of the ‘60’s dashboard...and yeah, remember when a lighter and ashtray were standard issue?  And the little diamond shaped window to flick out your ashes?

      The other thing I’m wondering about is a stick shift.  They don’t seem as prevalent these days.

      And the thing that scares me about so much of these new cars being electronically controlled is...what happens with the power fails?

      Anyway, another lovely blog!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Justjer wrote Jul 27, 2009
    • Some of my best memories also involve cars, cuz lets face it, its the journey and not necessarily the destination. I have used my Karman Ghia convertible many times (when it worked) as therapy...Just get in it and cruise....and there are NO fancy gadgets...just the wind in my hair and Oldies but Goodies on the radio....In fact, that’s a bit of what I would like now (so why don’t I have it?).  Well, I do, but its in the garage, undrivable.  It is still registered and insured, in case I ever ‘get around to it’ which says lots more about me than the evolution of cars. So I’ll stop.
      Thanks for the thoughts...
      Jeri



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lindao wrote Jul 27, 2009
    • Oh, Janie, the memories!  The very first car I owned by myself was a little Datsun without even air conditioning.  Today, I’m sad because Pontiacs won’t be made anymore, and the last 2 cars I’ve owned, including my present one, were luxury Grand Prix models with heads-up display—the ability to see how fast I’m going and other info by looking straight ahead and seeing it projected in front of me.  Hopefully this one will last a long time, but I’ll definitely miss the Grand Prix someday when I can’t buy another one.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pamaloon wrote Jul 27, 2009
    • How much do I love cars? A lot. And for the same reasons you do, Janie. So many memories! I remember an old red Ford Fairlane I had (that I wish I still had because it would be worth some $$ now!). That thing was a boat. I could put all my friends in it and then some. Lots of nice memories there. :) And I think about all the car trips I took with my own kids, and I know they will remember the cars we had when they were little. Great post! :)



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jul 27, 2009
    • Tina - I remember that little diamond shaped window.  I always wondered what it was for.  And BTW, they still make stick shifts.  I know several people who own one.

      Jer -  You‘re so right.  It’s much more about the journey than the destination.  We had a lot of fun, didn’t we?

      Linda - Really, no more Pontiacs?

      Pam - Cars were simpler and less expensive.  gas was cheaper.  But memories are always free.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jul 29, 2009
    • Hi Yana,

       Thanks



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