Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Automatic v. Stick - Truck v. Motorcycle

So we're at a point where we have to make a choice.  The big one. What do we do with the Protege? Do we sell it? Do we suck it up and keep the damn thing? If we sell it, do we buy something or Zip it? If we buy something, what do we buy? We're already selling Christian's bike, a Kawasaki Ninja 650R, and talking about getting one of the most practical and best selling little trucks ever. 

The truck is an easy sell for me, because of it's practicality, safety, and all around usefulness (think: any potential moving, our own, or others'). Christian has access to bikes all the time from his work.  He rides regularly.  Buying another bike would be an easy thing to do even if we bought a truck.  They require a lot less capital than cars and the insurance is a hell of a lot cheaper. But when it comes to buying a car I choke up.  I don't know if I can handle having less than a turbo.  I like driving fast.  I like feeling the road beneath me, having a responsive car where I know the wheel is connected to my thoughts and as soon as I turn it, I am off like a rocket.  There is nothing better than that feeling.  Nothing compares.  As frightening as the engine roll up may be (mostly because I don't want the cops to get curious), it is also exhilarating and liberating.  I will go, that is, as soon as the car is out of the shop.

Since our catalytic converters are being installed and were a special order part, we had to take my mother-in-law's car back to the Bay area, a RAV 4. In addition to the larger body, the innumerable buttons for climate control, and steering column controls for blue tooth and the stereo, it is an automatic, and a Toyota.  There is a reason for automatic cars, and I can say at least one of the biggest reasons is San Francisco itself.  With the crazy intersections (often with about 7 different potential directions in just as many angles) and the hills that feel like Mount Everest with a stick shift, an automatic is an attractive thing.  So when I drove the RAV 4 to Potrero Hill this morning, I really appreciated the automatic while I was waiting for someone to pull out of their 90 degree parking space on the steep Potrero grade. Even during the drive on the 580 back to Hayward, I didn't want for power.  The little SUV has some pick up.  But I still found myself wanting to have more control over how the car handled. I wanted to slip into spaces that the SUV just couldn't, where my Protege could.  Plus, there was no chance I was going to play driving games in the RAV 4.  Let me tell you, there were a few jerks on the road that I really wanted to show up, but of course, it's my mother-in-law's car, and it's definitely not a Mazdaspeed. 

It got me thinking, if I was going to sell the car, what could I possibly get that would make me as happy driving? Everything that looks remotely interesting would require a lot more capital than I have on hand and car payments are definitely not an option at this point.  No, I think I'm committed.  It's a marriage to my car.  My awesome little Mazdaspeed Protege.  I love thee.  And at least for the mean time, we are totally together.  That is, until I have some excess cash for a more reliable sports car.  Maybe an Audi S... or an M series... I could do a Mini S too... maybe.  Oh wait, no... none of them have the ratings of Mazda's.  Yes, thank you GOD for one car company that makes good reasonably priced and powerful vehicles.  They make my shifting hand itch.  I can't wait for my car back!

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