© 2012 Lance. All rights reserved.

Seriously, Put It Down

From around the time you were born until about two months ago, our family had only one car. In case you are reading this more than a few years in the future or from somewhere other than Atlanta, I will explain that it is pretty unusual for a two-parent family of our socioeconomic stratum in Atlanta to own only one car. It usually wasn’t that inconvenient, thanks to MARTA, Zipcar and the fact that we live in town. But our friends were pretty impressed, and we enjoyed feeling like environmentally enlightened city folk.

And then we decided to try the other thing. Without getting rid of the RAV4 (that carried you home from the hospital), we bought another car. The new car is the right size for environmentally enlightened city folk, but it weighs far too much and produces to much horsepower to allow us to continue to be smug about our vehicular progressiveness. You win some, you lose some.

Anyway, the new car is a convertible. All three of us think that convertibles are wicked radical. And, because I think too much about absolutely everything, I have been developing a theory of convertibles. And that theory goes like this: you should have the top down. If you own a convertible, you gotta put the top down like it was your job. I’m new to the owning a convertible thing and I freely admit that I haven’t put in anything near the 10,000 hours required to make me an expert. But it seems to me that if the thermometer is between 55 and 90 degrees, and if the weather is anywhere in the drizzle-to-dry spectrum, the top should be down.

Because you make sacrifices when you choose a convertible. (Cue the tiny violin.) The top in most cars plays an important role in structural integrity, meaning that the convertible needs additional metal in the frame which, together with the retraction mechanism, adds weight to the car. And that retraction mechanism is going to need repairs one day. And the car is probably noisier than its non-convertible counterparts. And the process of re-engineering a model to make it a convertible never seems to result in a top-up look that is as pleasing as the original. My convertible is heavier, slower, noisier and more expensive to buy and own than the non-convertible version, and it is a little uglier too, when the top is up.

So I don’t understand why, after making these sacrifices, a person would then drive around on a beautiful day with the top up.

I’m not fixating on a few bad eggs, either. Let me speak plainly and without exaggeration: on the most beautiful spring days we have had in 2012, the percentage of convertibles I see on the road in Atlanta with the tops down has never ever exceeded 50%. WTF people. Rebecca Black understands this. Why is it so difficult for you?

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