Monday, March 4, 2013

The Paranoid People's Car '05 Corolla

If cars are like people, my '05 Toyota Corolla is a nervous, twitchy, fearful helicopter parent. 
I enjoys cars, motorcycles and driving in general. I name the cars that are my favorite and feel genuine loss when they get sold off. I've owned ten cars and three motorcycles, but our '05 Toyota Corolla is the first car I would call really irritating.  I will never buy another like it.
I'm not talking aesthetics. The car looks fine.
I don't mean the fuel efficiency, which is pretty good.
There is nothing irritating about the acceleration, which is impressive for a small car with an ordinary four cylinder engine. This car even has a sunroof and fold down 60/40 seats for my building supplies.  So what's there not to like?
This car is for people who are certain, convinced, and petrified in the sure knowledge that as soon as they come to a stop at an intersection somewhere, thieves or punks or rapists, or thieving rapists, or punky-looking thieves, will jump in.  The car doors have a natural happy position, which is locked. Always.
They are usually shut as tight as a monastery during mardi gras.
Either it's the fear of robbery or this car is marketed to middle-aged parents who are absolutely certain their buckled and booted, restrained and restricted car-seated urchin will unbuckle themselves from their carseat and, while drooling innocently over the door-locks, will unlock the car and then push the heavy door open, (unnoticed by the caring parent) and hold it open long enough to allow themselves to fling themselves out of the car at high speed, or slow speed, or no speed, and get crushed beneath the all-weather radials just like that.
So the car doors lock automatically.
Turn the key, put her in gear, the doors lock. Stop the car and the doors stay locked. Turn the key off and take it out - the locks remain fastened like a bank vault.
Every time you do anything, the doors lock.
Almost every day I get into the car, start it up and forget something.  I step out again to load tools, cardboard boxes for recycling, or a squash bag onto the seat behind me. My fingers confidently haul on the door handle and then my flexor digitorum profundus and superficialis one-through-four get that nasty pain of trying to move the unmoveable.
Because the rear door is locked.
Minutes later I drive to the corner, step out of the car to grab yesterday's mail from the mailbox and pull on the passenger side door handle to throw the mail onto the seat. This time I am at the proper angle to wrench both my triceps and brachioradialis because the side door is locked.  Of course I cannot release the lock since the key is in the ignition (don't you always take the key from the ignition when you step out to the curb?) and I have to walk around to the driver's door to release the lock button.  All the doors spring open. I get back into the car and drive a hundred yards further to where a tree branch has fallen onto the road. I stop and toss it into the ditch, pleased with my own good-neighbourliness. Noticing mud on my hands I reach for the back door to get a rag from below the seat.
No luck.
Of course it is locked. Again.
That happened when I took the car out of park.
Naturally when my brain is working well, I unlock the doors each time I start to drive the car. A simple press of a button on my driver's side door is all it takes.  Click! it says and all the doors are magically unlocked.
Until the next time I happen to shift to park and back to drive.
Hey there's a friend. Maybe my wife, even.  "Want a ride?  Sure. Get in."  The friend or wife stands pulling lamely on the door handle.  "Oh, are you locked out?"
So it goes on.
I get groceries, key open the trunk and toss the vegetables in swing around to the side door to get in. I press the fob to unlock the doors.  Still locked because to open the back doors you have to press the fob twice.
Okay I press the key-fob and open-sesami, great.
I get in and start the car to find I've forgotten to return the cart.  Fine.  Get out, take the keys, grab the cart and push it to the cart place and retrieve my quarter. The car's locked because I've stepped away for more than 30 seconds...
Years ago I had  Mercury Tracer with an automatic seat belt which ran down a diabolical little groove in the door post and crossed over your chest, usually grabbing some of my thinning hair and tearing it from my head. My wife hated it too, but that was nothing compared to the ever-locking annoyingness of my Toyota.
Maybe this car believes it used to be a cop car, which needs reliable locks for when they put prisoners and suspects in there.
But cop cars don't have cloth seats or 4 cylinder engines.
No, this car is just annoying.
It's message to me is: "Don't fall out in the street!" or "See that guy over there?  He has a knife and he's going to jump into the back seat at the next light and make you drive him to Consecon!"
Want to buy a car?

1 comment: