M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, August 09, 2002  

My wife’s coworker MC is having a little bit of car trouble. Oh, it still starts and runs fine. Everything’s totally hunky-dory under the hood. The problem is that the back of his front seat has fallen off. And, as Paula Poundstone has rightly said, the back of the front seat is a piece of driving equipment easily taken for granted.

Now MC’s daily commute has taken on a new dimension, as his new cockpit configuration forces him to abandon the everyday “casually guiding the wheel” style of steering with a “white-knuckled deathgrip” style of steering. Pretty much the only thing keeping him from sliding into the backseat every time he accelerates or goes uphill is his hold on the car’s directional control interface. Hence a commonplace activity—like, say, eating a banana on the road—becomes fraught with peril should he come to a curve.

I met Trash and MC for lunch today, and Trash was still laughing when we got our food. Apparently her favorite part—and I have to agree—is that MC still straps on his seatbelt. That’s kind of unfair of us, because what are you gonna do, not put it on? It’s bad enough that you have to drive perched on the seat like a milkmaid on a rollercoaster without also worrying about flying through the windshield in the event of a head-on collision. This way is much better, because a head-on collision will turn his seatbelt into a slingshot that will launch him through the rear window instead. It’s a lot safer back there, after all.

You might imagine that driving in this position would get a little tiring. You would be right. MC told us about how he came to a stop at a red light and just lay back for a minute to give his arms and stomach muscles a rest. From that vantage, he watched the sky and the top of a semi-trailer in front of him. When the top of the semi-trailer pulled out of his field of vision, he knew it was time to sit up and keep driving. You gotta feel bad for the guy when you hear something like that. With the shape I’m in, I would just have to follow semi-trailers everywhere, whether they were going to my destination or not.

MC is starting to feel a little self-conscious about it, because other drivers notice. Imagine pulling up to a red light next to a sporty little car that seems to be empty. You curiously look over to confirm your suspicions, and there, staring back at you balefully, is a pair of eyes just above door level. It’s hard to look cool when the only thing people can see is the top of your head. Even Schwarzenegger couldn’t manage it after he ripped the shotgun seat out of Rae Dawn Chong’s car in Commando. MC says he keeps wanting to roll down his window and yell, “Shut up! My seat’s broken!” Too bad his window won’t roll down far enough.

I asked him if he plans to keep it that way. He doesn’t, but it’s going to be pretty expensive to fix because the seat has electrical adjustment controls. In the meantime, Trash is tormenting him at the office by playing an mp3 of “Low Rider” by War on her computer over and over again.

* * *

I don’t know what you people are doing about the Clear Channel thing (7/19), but obviously it’s working. Keep it up.

posted by M. Giant 2:54 PM 0 comments


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