As I got into the car of a friend who picked me up for an event, I remarked, "You've got new wheels!"
She gestured at the car's interior and said, "Yes. My husband handles our cars, which we lease, and the magic mileage number had arrived. I was quite surprised at how quickly that occurred because it seems like I was just getting the hang of the features of the other car, but now I have this new one. It's a great car so far."
The front passenger seat was comfortable and spacious. I commented, "Wow, this is like a little cockpit. There's not even a gear shift."
The usual stick in the console that puts the car in drive, reverse, or park had been replaced with a dial.
"It was hard to get used to initially," she said, "but now it's fine. I like it. The dial is easy to manipulate despite me not having much hand strength, either."
It was a nice-riding car, and I felt like I was in a limousine. In contrast, the car I drive is on the Spartan side. It's classified as a sport utility vehicle, and the "utility" part takes precedence in how the car performs. While the ride isn't the comfiest available, the car can tote a lot of cargo, which is great for hauling around my cello, which I need to keep in the ambient temperature with me and not in a freezing or roasting trunk, so it works just fine for my purposes.
The dashboard in Gail's new car gave her information at her fingertips, like how many miles the car could go on this tank of gas and what's behind the car when in reverse. There were plenty of cup holders plus ample storage bins for CDs and miscellaneous items.
"My only aspect for improvement would be the color choices. I'm tired of the usual black, white, and silver choices. What's wrong with sunny yellow or even hot pink?"
"Nothing," I responded. "It's like buying luggage. Just about every piece is black. I own no black luggage because a black bag looks like everyone else's bag. Besides, black is a man's accessory color. My luggage is brown. I have a hard-shell office briefcase in blue and a messenger bag in maroon. No black for me!"
She pointed to the black interior, shook her head, and said, "I guess you know that I didn't pick this out."
[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati.]