I recall, it was air conditioning and rear-window defrost.
know it wasnít the cruise control, although that was quite nice.
donít believe is was the cassette player, to which I later added
a cd player mounted in the trunk.
fairly certain it didnít have power windows.
conditioning and rear-window defrost. Try as I might to run down
other things, thatís what I keep returning to as the musts.
thirty years ago, I was purchasing my first car. It was a Pontiac
Grand Am, and to this day of all the cars Iíve owned it remains
was test driving and considering different vehicles, and my requirements
were simpleÖ air conditioning and rear-window defrost.
kind of funny, I suppose. Why the debate about options I wanted
in my car if Iím so certain about what they were? And the answer
is a bit easier to understand than you may believe.
times, they change. And it seems like there could have been something
else involved. In a world where floor mats do not always come
standard, itís worth a few minutes of reflection to recreate the
cassette player? You canít even find a car for sale these days
with one as an optional extra, never mind as a standard piece
of equipment. But back then, even with CDs on the market, it was
a pretty cool thing to find already in the car.
thing, those changes. I still enjoy air conditioning. And I like
having a rear-window defrost that works. Good stuff. But they
arenít all that impressive. Pretty much given that theyíll both
be installed on every vehicle.
other day, I was sitting in the car, waiting for Terry to finish
up something. And I had the window of the car open. She came out,
I started the car and turned on the AC. And, rolled up the window.
And thatís what got me thinking.
car itself isnít all that impressive. So unimpressive that I wonít
even bother mentioning the make or model to you. And yet the car
has two of the most amazing features Iíve ever come across. Both
of them are found on the driverís door. Both of them I never gave
a single thought during the process of buying it.
first one is an automatic window. I know what youíre thinkingÖ
nothing significant there. Almost all power windows on the driverís
door will go down with the quick flick and release of a switch.
True enough. But, to my knowledge, this is the only car I have
ever driven where the window will also go back up automatically
after a flick and release. No holding the button down to close
the window (unless you really want to).
second feature is lit switches. Have you ever been driving at
night and needed to do something with one of those switches? Raise
a window? Unlock the doors? Something where you looked down toward
that armrest only to seeÖ wellÖ in the darkness, only to see nothing.
In this car, the switches light up.
days, keyless entry and keyless ignition have arrived. USB ports
are taking over for cigarette lighters. CD players will soon join
cassette players in retirement. Satellite radio and GPS and all
sorts of wonderful gadgets are around, and most with touch screens
built into the dashboard. And here I am, praising a power window
and buttons with lights.
a belief that the greatest invention of all time is the wheel.
And as discoveries and creations go, the wheel is a good one.
A great one, in fact. Still, most people today would look at the
wheel as fairly basic and ordinary. Itís common. Even ordinary.
We do take them for granted. (At least until theyíre flat. Which
reminds us of their importance.)
I comparing a window that goes up and down with the invention
of the wheel? No. Of course not. Just an observation about how
simple things can make stronger connections than the wildest of
the years, Iíve had certain beliefs when it comes to major purchases.
I always want a second bathroom in any house. Always consider
needs when deciding what type of car to check out. If you would
have told me when I was preparing to drive off the lot in my Grand
Am that decades later Iíd be considering the armrest on the driverís
door to show you some of my favorite features though, I never
would have believed you.
out, function can be every bit as exciting as flash.