The Smart Car Epidemic
Lately there’s been an explosion of Smart car ownership down here. Every time I turn around, there’s another one of them puttering down the street on those tiny wheels, or hiding in a parking space that I think is empty until I start to turn into it and have to stop short because there’s a glorified golf cart hiding between a Grand Marquis and a Camry. So I started wondering why on earth people in South Florida would buy one:
- It’s small and convenient. Well, big deal. Because northern Palm Beach County isn’t exactly, say, New York City (I can tell because none of the people I grew up with and hung out with for the first 30 or 40 years of my life are around. Neither is the music. Or the art. Or the food Or…ah hell….) nor is it Milan. My point is that where I live there’s effectively little to no traffic, and parking spaces abound, so it’s not like you need a car you can do this with:
- It’s “GREEN”. Arguable and relative. It supposedly gets 33 mpg city and 42 mpg highway. Of course to benefit from the larger number you need the balls to actually drive it on the highway. Really though, if you’re going to go with this argument, you’re probably obsessed with your “carbon footprint”, which would be a hell of a lot smaller if you bought a one or two year old Honda Civic, thereby eliminating the need to make a new car for you. What happened to Reuse, Recycle, Rehash, or whatever the hell that slogan is? Betcha put a nice fat Recycle Now bumper sticker on your nice new Smart, too.
- It’s cheap to drive. Well at 33 MPG I suppose it’s a tiny bit cheaper than the cars that get in the high 20′s, but not when you factor in the 7 round trips to the supermarket you have to make just to get enough food for the weekend because you can only fit a bag of granola and two bunches of organic bananas in the car at one time.
- It’s cute. No, it’s not. Newsflash: you don’t look cute or smart in one. You look like a giant pud driving a clown car.
I cannot think of one single other reason to buy one (unless you’re looking to kiss Ed Begley’s ass). But hey, if you feel differently, I’m cool with it. There’s always room for disagreement, even when I’m completely right. And, if you live in an overcrowded city, I’ll even go so far as to say I understand the purchase. I mean, not if you have children, or if you want a chance in hell to score with a girl that wears something other than Birkenstocks, but I do understand it. If you live down here in south Florida though, let me take a moment to introduce you to a couple of people:
These folks love to drive to the supermarket, the bingo parlor, the movie theater, the Scooter Store, and the early bird special at T.G.I. Friday’s. They drive huge American cars that weigh more than the transporters that carry Smarts to dealerships. They occasionally drive directly into the sides of buildings and mistake little things like Smarts for speed bumps. And they play for keeps.
You can say what you want about how Smarts did in crash tests, but when Uncle Jed gets distracted because his coupon for 50 cents off a bottle of Tums at CVS starts blowing around the car after Aunt Jean cracks the window to bleed off some of Jed’s post-brisket fart fumes, and he t-bones you at 60 mph in his ’71 DeVille, I really think you’d want to be anywhere but behind the wheel of your Smart. Because the fact is this: if you buy one you may save a few bucks on gas, and you may (debatably) do your part to emit less greenhouse gasses when you drive, and you may find it easier to park.
But that’s all pretty much fucking useless if you’re fucking dead.