At the Centaur household, we are a two-car family. And when it comes to getting around, I prefer to drive my truck: The Man-Mobile III. It’s aptly named.
However, there are unavoidable occasions when I find myself forced to drive my wife’s car: The Grocery-Getter I. As you might expect, I try and avoid these instances at all costs.
The Grocery-Getter I is a 2000 Honda Civic. It’s about as powerful as a riding lawnmower, and due to its dark green color, actually looks like one too. If you were to somehow put a mower deck on her car, you would be hard pressed to distinguish it from a John Deere. Seriously, whenever I find myself behind the wheel, I have to fight the urge to pull over every half mile to empty the grass catcher. Needless to say, it is not cool to be seen in. I honestly feel like “The Waterboy” when driving down the freeway.
Of course, that’s only the beginning. The biggest problem I face in driving my wife’s car is simply dealing with all the unnatural seat and accessory settings in place. For instance, the first thing you notice when you get into the Grocery-Getter is that you can’t actually get in. Unless you are a circus contortionist, you’ll find that it is physically impossible to enter her low-riding car with no headroom, which has the steering wheel set so close to the seat that it crushes your pelvis upon entry.
It gets better. If you do happen to limbo inside, you’ll find that the rearview mirror points at the floor mats. It’s funny to think that from my wife’s perspective, this view would be considered normal. It reminds me of when you wear someone else’s glasses, and you openly marvel about the extent of their impaired vision.
Also, you can never plan on getting very far in the Grocery-Getter I. First off, it is guaranteed that the gas tank will be bone dry. It’s a good thing this car gets good gas mileage, as it pretty much has to go months between re-fillings on the occasions I actually drive it. In fact, my wife has never once bothered to put gas in her car. I’m convinced that she thinks she drives a solar-powered car.
It should also be noted that her car is generally nine months overdue for an oil change. No amount of stickers on the windshield seems to prevent this phenomenon. On top of that, it is unlikely that jumper cables, tools or a flashlight can be found in the trunk. Of course, it is not for my lack of planning. I made her a toolbox of emergency supplies to keep in her trunk at all times. Unfortunately, there was a slight misunderstanding. When I told my wife that she needed to have these items in her car “at all times,” she thought I meant “absolutely never.”
To be fair, once you finally get behind the wheel, it is actually kind of fun to drive my wife’s Civic. In fact, driving her car is the closest thing to playing MarioKart in real life. On the freeway, it feels like you could just zip underneath 18-wheelers or accelerate through oil slicks. Whenever someone passes me in the Grocery-Getter (which is often), I must always resist the impulse to hit buttons on the console hoping to shoot banana peels or turtle shells at them.
That being said, it honestly doesn’t surprise me that Honda Civics are routinely among the most commonly stolen vehicles in the country. I’m pretty sure it is mostly due to MarioKart junkies seeking the ultimate fix.
While the Grocery-Getter I has its merits, we are nevertheless in the market for a Grocery-Getter II. And of course, I will provide an update on how this progresses. Meanwhile, we are considering alternatives to simply trading in the Civic. I’m thinking about tossing the keys to my son Charlie. He’s seven months old, and next year he’ll want to drive a Big Wheel around the neighborhood. I think The Grocery-Getter I will provide roughly the same experience.