Car Story

They put up a sign, just for me.

Oct., 2005

I've never owned a car till now. When we first moved to Chiang Mai, we managed a year without one because we lived in the city.

When our house on the outskirts was ready, and before moving there, I went on this newfangled internet thingy to research on the optimal car to buy.

Being a man, I went straight to the Porsche site to drool over cars I couldn't afford. Only, there was no drooling; turns out I don't care much for cars, except as a necessary mode of transport. The only car that came anywhere near making me drool was the new Volkswagen Beetle. I bought a book about it's development and re-learned something about successful industrial design: letting designers lead, engineers follow, instead of the other way around. And the importance of paying attention to detail.

Anyway, this internet thing has some useful info besides all that porn (did you know there were these 'race-queens' - scantily clad  girls that hang around sports cars and get photographed?). I learned about the most fuel efficient cars, least polluting cars, about airbags (and I don't mean mothers-in-law) and, a most interesting tidbit, that, all things being equal,  red cars are the least likely to be crashed into.

So I decided to get a red car. Wa (the wife) consulted her Feng Shui manual and argued, waving the book in the air as logic irrefutable, that since I was born in July, I should get a grey car. I put my foot down, arguing brilliantly that red is cool and this was was non-negotiable.

We bought a grey Honda with dual air bags, ABS brakes and a wicked Hi-Fi. Hey, I got my way on the dual airbags.

Thai drivers are pretty reckless, but in a nonchalant, friendly, Thai sort of way. It's scary enough so that Wa doesn't want to drive here. That doesn't stop her from sitting beside me and constantly telling me how to drive. This is the reason for domestic violence. I swear, there are times when I'm THIS close to manually deploying that second airbag!

Wa has an uncanny sense of direction and always knows which way is where, so when she's with me, I'm able to complete my errands quickly. On my own, I'm constantly getting lost. I once found myself at a police lot  where they tow crashed cars. This turned out to be useful as I later took the whole family there to show my daughters what would happen if they kept distracting me while I was driving. Wa got the message and is now mercifully restrained, though still far short of being completely un-annoying.

On the other hand, I'd be lost without her.

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