I recently became the proud owner of a Toyota Prius. It’s green with a tan interior and it gets a gazillion miles to the gallon. Seriously.
Here in Los Angeles, Priuses are like an epidemic. One day, my husband and I sat on our balcony and watched fifteen cars drive by. No lie, eight of them were Priuses. I’ve heard rumors that this is not the case in other parts of the country, but I can’t imagine it.
(The other day, I was actually driving in formation on the freeway. In the center lane were two silver Priuses, accompanied on either side by me and another green Prius. It was quite lovely, I assure you.)
Getting used to a new car is always exciting. Of course, the more features they add, the longer the “getting used to” process is. Ever diligent, I read through the “quick reference” manual. If there were tips and tricks, I wanted to master them. My car and I would be like one, navigating the city like that boy in Eragon and his dragon (instead of calling me a “dragonrider,” you can call me a “carrider”).
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say everything is going completely according to plan. How does that saying go? “If you ever want to make God laugh, try to master the voice controls on your navigation system”?
I know a little. I know, for instance, how to search for a restaurant. First you press the button, and then the pleasant-voiced lady who lives in the engine tells you to go ahead and talk.
Me: “Find nearby Japanese.”
Lady who lives in engine (LWLIE): “Indicating locations of Japanese restaurants.”
And then the map screen gets these cute little Japanese flag icons that symbolize the location of the local Japanese restaurants. Fun, right? Totally. One of the first things my husband did was ask the car to find the nearby seafood restaurants. Little icons of fish flanked by forks and knives popped up on the map. Squee!
Cut to: the other day. Sitting in traffic, I glanced down at the map to see that not only was I surrounded by seafood restaurants, but now there was a whole new set of icons. A stripe of blue, a stripe of red… the Thai flag. Checking with my husband revealed that, yes, when he borrowed my car, he did ask for directions to nearby Thai restaurants.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, I live and drive in Los Angeles. We like food here in Los Angeles. We especially like fish (be it sushi, or fried and taco-fied, or whatever, really) and Thai food. So at any given moment, unless I’m in the hills, there are between two and five icons on my screen.
Last week, while stuck in traffic, I finally decided to do something about it. I jabbed the talk button.
LWLIE: “I’m listening.”
Me: (Emphatically, to show how confident I am that I can guess the correct command.) “Clear searches.”
LWLIE: “What are these nonsense words you’ve strung together? I have to go. I’m listening to an NPR report about myself.”
I waited a second, the hamster wheels in my head turning, then hit the button again.
LWLIE: “What is it this time?”
Me: “Ahem. Cleeeeear searrrrrches.”
LWLIE: “Indicating locations of nearby ski resorts.”
I pressed the button again.
LWLIE: “Seriously? You’re still here?”
Me: “Search complete.”
LWLIE: “Adjusting temperature to seventy-two degrees.”
And my car instantly got two degrees warmer. At this point, I would have defied traffic laws and common sense and looked in the quick reference manual, except I’d left it at home. So when I got home, I did look in the reference manual. I looked for “clear searches.” I looked for “search complete.”
To quote U2, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
The good news is, it’s a great car. It has a neato little camera that shows you what’s behind you when you reverse, so you don’t have to back into any cars, uh, ever again. It’s zippy and maneuverable and cute. And it gets 46 mpg, which means that, given the price of gas these days, I can drive to work for a month using spare change shaken out of my couch.
So if you’re thinking Prius, let me strongly encourage you to give them more than a passing glance. Think how good you can feel about your carbon footprint! Think of the cuteness and all of the amenities!
Most importantly, just THINK how you can figure out how to clear the searches and share a clue with me!!