Friday, September 19, 2008

The Friday Challenge - 9/19/08

We pre-empt the planned Friday Challenge for today in order to introduce a different topic: cars. I was driving in to the office this morning, found myself on a one-lane merging ramp behind a biddy in an Oldsmobile, and as I was looking to my left to find a hole in the somewhat moderately thickish traffic, she got to the bottom of the ramp and slammed on the brakes.

Now, I suppose I could have slammed on mine, too, and hoped the lady behind me was alert enough to slam on hers, and the car behind her, and so on, and so on, on up the line, but I've been submarined in the middle of an accordion crash before and have no great desire to experience that again. So I also suppose I could have gone right, into the drainage ditch, which is lined with chunks of jagged limestone the size of bowling balls, and at the very least kissed my brake and fuel lines goodbye. But since I'd already spotted a suitably large hole in traffic to my left, I floored it, swerved left, and did the heart-stopping flying three-lane crossover to safety.

Wow. I had no idea it was possible to peg the speedometer on a 14-year-old Ford Tempo. Guess it's a good thing I passed-up all those four-bangers I was looking at and picked one with the 3.0-liter V-6 instead.

But the image of the big-ass back-end of that Oldsmobile reared up in the air with the brake lights all lit up remains impressed on my mind, and very nearly on my forehead, and so we come to today's topic: cars. If ever there was a car that was aptly named, it was the Old-mobile, because I've never seen one that wasn't being driven by some little old blue-haired biddy who had to peer out through the spokes of the steering wheel or some timid geezer with no hair, liver spots like a map of the Peloponnesians, and lenses like the bottoms of Coke bottles. (The Pontiac Grand Ma is a close second, as every one of those seems to be driven by a member of the Future Myopic Grandmothers of America, but chronologically, many Grand Ma owners seem to be quite young.)

I don't mind mini-vans or most SUVs. They're like cows; big and clumsy, but you can see them a mile away and take evasive action easily. I have a particular distaste for Cadillac Escalades, as they all seem to be driven by oblivious idiots who think they're in the only vehicle on the road — assuming, of course, they realize they're on the road, as most Escalade drivers seem to be more involved in their phone conversations than their driving.

But if ever there was a brand that was aptly named — a brand I was happy to see die and disappear from the market — a brand that strikes terror into my heart every time I find myself near one that's still on the highway — it was the Oldsmobile.

How about you? That's this week's Friday Challenge: if you were granted the power, what is the one car brand you would most like to see disappear from the face of the Earth, based on either your personal experience as an owner of that car or your impressions of others who own and drive them? Alternatively, what is the one car brand that has already vanished, whose demise most pleased you?