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By Dianne Armitage
I’ve never been one of those pragmatically perfect people. You know the sort. They plan ahead. They understand math. They not only know how to make a left turn without breaking a sweat, but they can also parallel park in heavy traffic. Their underwear always has elastic where it counts, and they tend to truly understand a distance word problem. These types could quickly tell me if a car and a bus set out at 2 p.m. from the same point, headed in the same direction and the average speed of the car is 30 mph slower than twice the speed of the bus, why the car is 20 miles ahead of the bus in two hours. I, on the other hand, would still be standing at the bus stop staring into the distance!
I’ve always wanted to be one of those people, but it’s simply not in the cards. I’ve tried to convince myself that it’s of the utmost importance that each of us is unique and possesses qualities that make us special. Well, actually, I’ve tried to convince my science and math teachers, my employers, and sometimes even my family – with varying degrees of success. Teachers have sent me to the principal’s office, employers have given me a pink slip, and my family has rolled their eyes more times than I care to mention. All this does is make me more determined to prove to them that I can actually make a smart, well thought-out decision.
Although I know that my oncologist is always glad to see me (I make her laugh), I’m pretty sure she realizes that when she tries to explain a complex treatment option to me, it had best come with pictures – or at the very least, a study guide. I smile knowingly and nod at all the appropriate places, but quite often I have absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. It’s not that I’m stupid, it’s just that at the crucial time when we were supposed to be studying biology, algebra, and the gross national product, I was passing notes to any number of classmates. If I wasn’t passing notes, I was trying to crack someone up so they would snort milk out of their nose.
Sad to say, my report cards were filled with A’s and B’s. As I reflect on this, I’m beginning to think my teachers were simply trying to get rid of me. Actually, I know I shouldn’t be so self-deprecating. I always paid apt attention when we were reading literature, or studying history. My mind had no problem wrapping itself around those subjects, and I spent hours reading everything I could get my hands on. I’m so right brained it’s a miracle my head doesn’t tilt that direction!
So imagine my delight when I read about the Smart Car! I’ve been actively trying to find a mode of transportation that will provide me with the ability to get good mileage, which is also environmentally friendly. Out here in California it seems like nearly every other car is a hybrid. Truth be told, if I was REALLY being an environmentalist I’d walk to work, because it’s only about 2 miles away. I use the excuse that I have to run a lot of errands, which allows me to justify the need to drive. Hey, I may be right brained, but at least I’m honest!
So, back to the Smart Car. A few months ago I happened to see one parked at a local restaurant. It made the right side of my brain sort of twirl around in my head. My husband, who is all about big boxy SUVs, or at the very least a solid car like a Lincoln or Cadillac, scoffed at my enthusiasm. Actually, I think he feels like I need a tank surrounding me in order for me to be a safe driver. I pity the other people on the road should that ever occur!
After I downloaded the safety information about my newfound favorite vehicle, he relaxed his stance just a bit, because although there isn’t much car involved, what is there is very well made. As I chattered away about it being a marriage between Mercedes Benz and Swatch, I distinctly began to feel like someone’s eyes were starting to roll (and they weren’t mine!) I mean think about it. What’s not to love about a car that combines the German engineering that a Benz is famous for – with the silliness and style of a Swatch? Talk about the perfect combination of right and left brain. I mean really!
Do I care that it only has two seats? No! Am I worried that it can only go 90 miles an hour? Are you kidding? Can I picture myself and my dogs driving along the Pacific Coast Highway. You betcha’! And before you get all left brained on me, I do not picture the dogs driving. That would just be wrong.
So I put my $99 deposit down and began waiting to hear when my car will actually be available. And just a couple of weeks ago I happened to read that the local Mercedes dealer had several Smart Car models on its lot. I was there so quickly I could have been a distance word problem no one would be able to figure out!
The nice young man (his mother should be so proud) not only happily showed me the Passion Cabriolet (don’t you just love that name?) He asked me if I wanted to go for a test drive. Proving to anyone who might have been watching that I could be just as left brained as the next guy, I took him up on his offer. Certainly, I couldn’t purchase a car without ever driving it. Could I?
The moment I sat in the driver’s seat I knew this was the car for me. As I repeatedly told the salesman “This is just like a Bug’s Bunny car!” I noticed him sort of nervously looking around, but he never did jump out. You want to know something else? As I was driving around town with the convertible top down and the sun shining on my face, I didn’t think about breast cancer once.
And the best part of all? The Smart Car allows me to be somewhat left brained because it’s so small I can actually parallel park. Which if you ask me, makes me a Smart Aleck!