Sunday, July 17, 2005

Feed The Tree

I passed my smog test today! I guess they randomly send old cars to these special "test-only" centers where the mechanics aren't allowed to tweak your car to make it pass. Looking over the test results, it looks like I gotta start thinking about a new cat within a couple of years...the oxides of Nitrogen and carbon monoxide are pretty high, near the limit. So I'm sitting there in the waiting room, anxiously awaiting the outcome of the test and I almost set into a panic -- what if I don't pass? What if the guy comes back, "sorry, your car didn't pass"? Then I'll be flagged a gross-polluter and all this CARB-legislated crap will reign down on me like some unstoppable force from those know-it-alls in Sacramento. And so I start running through reasons in my head -- what da hell am I doing driving around a 10 year old car with 203 thousand miles on the ticker? A car with torn CV boots patiently waiting for me to install the brand new Raxles sitting in my living room? A car with a clutch cable that's been groaning for at least 80K miles now, and a clutch that's still hanging on despite 120K miles of use. I mean, it would be so much easier to have something to not have to think about a nice new car that all you have to do is throw gas in the tank and pump air in the tires. Yeah, that would be nice. But then I remember why -- depreciation; monthly car payments; registration fees; taxes. All a bunch of crap that makes me hesitate from really driving and owning the car. Sure, the G20 has its quirks, but I don't have to worry about keeping the miles down to maintain resale value or worry about driving it hard.

And I see all the cars pass outside the test center window -- Lexus luxoboats, Ford S-U-Behemoths; all big complex vehicles loaded down with so much excess crap nowadays: GPS, anti lock, anti skid, traction control, all wheel drive, electronic activated hydraulic center differentials, seven speed automatics with electronic overdrive, tv screens, dvd players, power operated doors - just so much crap that takes away from the purity of the driving experience and the simplicity of transportation: gas, brake, steering. But I guess that's how this country is supposed to work -- pile on as many low-cost features as you can and rake in the profits on the huge margins. Make people want more, desire more, make 'em want to get the latest and greatest, and they'll come knocking at your door with fistfuls of dollars begging you to sell them your stuff... So I start realizing how stupidly complex I've made my life. So much clutter and crap polluting my room, the garage, this house. Why do I let myself get distracted with all this stuff? Do I really need all this?

I envy those of you out there, well organized, goal oriented, and focused. That's a skill I need to develop -- not only for personal reasons but also to be more successful at work. Must be nice to have a clear distinct focus and a set of priorities to define the direction of your actions and choices. It used to be so easy to just live for the here and now and not have to worry about yesterday or tomorrow -- carpe diem were words a girl I knew in college used to encourage me to live by. So I guess it all changes when you get older? :)

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At 7/18/2005 11:32 AM, Blogger bev said...

i had to bring my car to a 'test only' place two weeks ago as well. did you go to the one in SSF; it's right near my parents house.

At 7/18/2005 6:16 PM, Blogger Randy said...

you won't get flagged as a gross polluter. if you fail like three times...i think then you get flagged as a gross polluter. as long as the cat is in top condition and you haven't messed around with any emissions parts....then you should be fine. although, i know CARB wants to "get rid" of old cars like mine by making more stringent emissions criteria. fuck them. but i guess it wouldn't hurt to get a new car...lets say an EVO?

At 7/18/2005 8:30 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I have to admit, I do wish I had a GPS. I was 15 minutes late to a client meeting because the sales exec had us work though lunch and I had to stop for gas. In that mad rush, I took a wrong turn :-(

At 7/18/2005 9:17 PM, Blogger VirtualErn said...

Bev, I went to the one in Redwood City -- turns out they were one of the few that were open on Sunday.

Hey Randy, remember no smog checks on new cars for 6 years! You know what that means...hehehhehe :)

Gary, I hear ya. Friend of mine had one in his's a pretty nifty device. Maybe when they link real time traffic to the unit I'll think about it. For now, I'll live life on the edge. :) Do you have to pay monthlies for the service, or is it free?


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