In Defense of Cars
A love letter to our versatile vehicles and the joys they bring.
Anyone in possession of eyes, ears or even a semi-conscious state can’t escape learning of some new report each month detailing the evils of automobiles and their noxious fumes. I say: Shut up. We’re all going to croak eventually, so let’s not stress over a few toxins here and there when there are such marvelous delights to be had inside and near our automobiles. Below, a few of life’s sweet pleasures we couldn’t enjoy without cars:
Road trips are a blast. No, not those 17-hour drags filled with grumpy families, full bladders and your parents’ Michael Bolton collection blasting for the entire duration. We’ve all experienced the unpleasantness of a day crammed in a minivan with Mom and Dad, wishing for earplugs and adulthood and maybe death.
These torturous childhood road trips only made our first real excursions more exciting when we finally turned 16 (or 17, or 18, or 23, if you parallel park like I do), had a set of wheels and could hit the road on our own. Even if we were headed somewhere awful like Cedar Point, where we’d wait in line for three hours only to have the 12-year-old behind us barf in our hair once aboard the Dragster, we were still happy. We knew the real joy was in our newfound freedom, the fun of setting off with our friends and pretending to be real adults. Heck, even the grody Ohio rest stops were fun because we felt like grownups. Taking our first real road trip is akin to filing our own taxes when it comes to giving us a taste of independence, and it’s a heck of a lot more fun.
Driving By Your Crush’s House
Facebook stalking has nothing on the pure joy and satisfaction of actual stalking — in a harmless and totally legal, fun way, of course. Yes, I’m talking about cruising past your crush’s house in hopes of catching a peek of excitement. Never mind that the most action you’ll usually find through the window is Mom making a roast or a creepy roommate scratching himself as he watches reruns of Cops. The adventure is more fun than the outcome.
Nothing beats the thrill of gripping your steering wheel in excitement as you peer through the window of your crush’s house while you slowly creep by, hoping desperately to avoid detection. The shakiness of your toes on the gas pedal for those few seconds, followed by a sudden slam on the gas when you mistake a shaking tree limb for a person spotting you, is a thrill that just can’t be replicated in any place other than a car. Sure, you could rollerblade by, but a helmet and elbow pads don’t offer quite the same level of disguise as an actual door and window.
Even the valedictorian knows the best part of school is skipping it! Cutting class transforms one’s ride from a mere method of transportation to a getaway vehicle. How could you skip algebra without it? I suppose you could simply walk out the door, but when the principal spots you out his office window and hunts you down, all the babes in school will want to skip out on you, ya dork.
Besides, there’s no easy way to get from school to Tim Horton’s without a car. I mean, there’s always hitchhiking, but it’s kind of hard to get excited about the delicious bagel in your future when you’re busy wondering if your ride is going to kidnap you.
It’s common knowledge that the best part of a concert isn’t the performance but the boozing and hot-dog guzzling in the parking lot beforehand. (And this doesn’t just apply when the concert is John Mayer and literally anything, including root canals, term papers and prison, would be preferable to the musical act.) Loading up the trunk with a grill and cooler and parking outside the Palace to roast Hebrew Nationals and sip brewskis is more than just a preconcert ritual; it’s an event. For some of us (me), not counting Chanukah, the annual pre-concert tailgates comprise the most time we spend with our families each year.
Without our trusty automobile, how else would we lug our burgers and Budweisers to the venue? In a wagon? Maybe if it was 1850. By bike? Perhaps if we were made of muscle and OK with being mistaken for hipsters. But really, we couldn’t do it without a car.
Let’s face it: There’s really nothing that can replace an automobile. Cars don’t just take us where we need to go; they provide us with those merry moments that make life fun to live. There are certain joys in life — a road trip with friends, an adrenaline-filled spy mission, a tailgate with your family — that simply could not exist without cars to bring us there. OK, so our vehicles may be harming the environment and slowly killing us, but in the meantime, they sure provide us with some amazing distractions.