Monday, July 12, 2010


I drive a Camry. Probably will for a lot longer, too. You don't buy a Toyota because you want a four-year car. You buy a Toyota Camry because you want a reliable car. And you know, not only that, but my Camry is quiet. It has 6-cylinder giddyup in a 4-cylinder engine. It gets 600 miles to the damn tank at highway speed. The worst problem it ever had was needing a new battery.

You could say I am not one to go overboard about a car. And then I got to LAX last night.

I take whatever car Avis gives me on business trips unless it is an atrocity (looking at you PT Cruiser...). If asked, I prefer a car with satellite radio, sun roof and, if in the Northeast, EZPass.

Last night, at LAX, I had a convertible Sebring waiting for me. Tonight, I decided to see what that was really like.

After a looooong day of work throughout Southern California (picture filming, in the desert, in searing heat, in dress clothes and then still having to drive to LA), I met a friend for dinner downtown. A significant side effect of this dinner: rush hour traffic went away.

So, as I got my car from the parking deck, I knew the following and carefully took each into account:

  • I had a convertible
  • It was still light out
  • I had, in all likelihood, no traffic in front of me
  • I had 55 miles to drive
Folks. FOLKS. I hit the 60 freeway with the roof down and a damned smile. Let's face it. California wasn't built to be taken in by train or bus. It was built to be taken in at high speed, the silhouette of the San Gabriel Mountains framing the horizon as you zoom down the freeway.

It's funny. I love my quiet car. Driving a convertible at highway speed is not quiet. In fact, on a 10-lane freeway, it's loud. Cars passing are even louder.

But with XM satellite radio booming, who cares? They were even playing the songs I wanted to hear. It was the single planetary alignment of perfect driving conditions in the one place in the USA where, when driving conditions are perfect (read: the mess of Southern California freeways), it's flipping brilliant.

I basically had my own personal roller coaster for the better part of an hour.

And what's interesting: blind spots in a convertible suck. Until the top is down. Then you can see everything.

Last March, I made almost the identical drive from LA to Riverside at the height of rush hour. It was misery. I was in an unruly SUV in stacked up LA traffic the whole way to the Inland Empire (which is neither inland, nor an empire... discuss). Tonight, was the polar opposite.

Don't believe in karma? You clearly weren't in the passenger seat tonight.

1 comment:

Adaena said...

As much as I hate to admit it, my 2004PT Cruiser with 60K miles sounds like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang compared to Chris' 2003 Toyota Camry with 237K on it. And here, I made fun of him for having a "middle-aged dad car" back in the day. Looks who's laughing now! Your coastal convertible trip sounds dreamy. I wanna do that around Big Sur sometime!