The New Baby Wheels


My new car–a 2012 Toyota Yaris.  Until Friday, I owned one that looked almost exactly like this.  The difference is that the “old” one (a 2010) had a manual transmission and only two doors.  Excuse me.  Three doors.  They count the hatchback as a “door”.  Don’t ask me.  But by that logic, the new one officially has five doors.  Also the new one has an automatic transmission.

I’ve been stressing out for the last week or so, because my rental car has to be returned on the 15th of February.  I’m wearing a pneumatic boot on my left leg, and have to keep wearing it until the 28th, when I have my next doctor’s appointment.  So what to do?  Extend the rental for another couple of weeks?  The problem with that was there is no guarantee I’ll be able to STOP wearing the boot then.  And I couldn’t drive my car with the boot on.  Or maybe even with the boot off.  I just don’t know, and the decision had to be made now.

The only logical thing to do was to trade in my car for one with an automatic transmission.  I was depressed about the idea.  I love driving manual transmission cars.  They’re more fun.  You feel as if you have more control, though that’s probably an illusion.  But this I’m fairly sure of:  you have to be more alert to drive a car with a manual transmission.  It’s much harder to “zone out” when you have to do more than just apply the brake or the accelerator.  But trust me, I didn’t waste too much time on being depressed about it.  When you have no choice, being sad about what you can’t do is just wasted emotion.

The perk was, I got four doors.  The thing that annoyed me to no end about the “old” Yaris is that you could only get into the back seat through the passenger side.  Not that I hardly ever used the back seat (in fact, maybe never) for actual people, but in my previous car, the Camaro, I was used to pulling the driver’s side seat back forward and tossing groceries in the back seat rather than putting them in the trunk.   With the “old” Yaris, I took to putting groceries in the passenger seat and floorboard.

And there were more perks.  My favorite is that you can operate the controls for the radio from the steering wheel. It has Bluetooth built in.  (I’m not sure yet whether I’ll use that. Probably not, while driving, unless I’m stopped when I answer it or make a call.)  It has electric locks and windows and side-view mirrors.  Here’s a funny fact:  this is the first time in my life, in 46 years of car ownership, that I’ve owned a car you can lock and unlock from the buttons on your key.  Fakename graduates to the 21st century.

Here’s another funny fact.  I bought my Camaro in 1995 after a major flood in New Orleans totalled the car before that.  During that flood, two Tulane students drowned in their Lexus when they drove under an overpass with standing water in the road.  What they didn’t know was that that water was 20 feet deep. (When they tell you, “Don’t drive into standing water”, you should pay attention.)  They had automatic everything, which immediately shorted out, so they couldn’t open the doors or the windows. Therefore, when I got the Camaro, I purposefully got manual everything so that I could open the doors and windows.  I guess I’m over it now.  Not to mention that it takes work to find a car without electric controls these days.

There are other perks.  For example, you could sit in the back seat without having to have both legs amputated to the knee first.  The seats are much more comfortable.  It has cruise control (I missed that from the Camaro).  And God forbid I should fail to mention that it has 9 airbags.  The salesperson was obsessed with that.

But here is the most important thing:  it’s really cute, and bright and shiny 🙂

I picked up the car on Friday the 8th, and here is another perk:  I got to enter a drawing for a 2 week vacation for two for anywhere in the U.S.  Airfare and hotel included.  If I win, I’m taking Fakesister.  Where you wanna go, Fakesister? I pick NYC.  The thing is, I have a lot better chance than usual, because you had to buy a car to enter, and I think the contest is only 10 days long.

I leave you with a photo of me (and my Kindle) at the dealership.  The salesperson took it when I was not expecting it, although frankly, no amount of preparation would have made me look any better that day. I refer to this as my “deer in the headlights” pose.



11 responses to “The New Baby Wheels

  1. There’s always Mount Rushmore.

  2. Ah, good choice, Fakesister! As you apparently know, I’ve always wanted to see it and somehow missed every opportunity I ever had to do so while I was close enough for it not to be an ordeal. I’m just not sure there is enough to do for two weeks in South Dakota 🙂 Whereas in NYC, in two weeks you couldn’t possibly do and see everything you’d like.

  3. I meant to mention, the reason this post is called “The New Baby Wheels” is that I called the old one “the baby Toyota” and Fakesister called it the Toy Car. Same difference 🙂 Thanks, Usman, for liking this post!

  4. Congrats- it is cute, bright & shiny. I hope your leg will be healed and the boot can come off soon. BTW- I love Toyotas. I bought myself a Celica when I was a LT. Even convinced my “Ford loving” husband to buy one and he loves it althought I suspect his side of the family has never forgiven me.

  5. Did you buy it in Tallahicky or Thomasville or…?

    You want to go to NYC? I find San Francisco more enjoyable….

  6. In Tallahassee, sc, at Legacy Toyota.

  7. Congrats on the new baby. Glad you have it. I had to teach my first wife how to drive a stick in Tallahassee in the 60’s. The hills were actually a pain in the ass without automatic. I suspect you will become quite fond of it. Glad your leg is coming along too.

  8. Thanks, pt. I can picture you teaching your first wife in Tallahassee. Not easy, epecially in downtown. But it is doable. I learned in the mountains of North Carolina.

  9. FN I’m a white knuckle Mountain driver. My hats off to you. Tallahassee has the most hills in Florida which was all I knew at the time. She was not meant to drive a stick, so we bought the first automatic bug that was brought to market. It’s a wonder that my second two children were ever born.

  10. Lol @ your children 🙂 Since I don’t have to do it any more, I’m not that good at mountain driving either. Bridges now bother me more.

  11. The secret is…look at the road. Just the road. The white line in the center.

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