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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

If last Friday Ol’ Robbo had chosen the category “Things I’m Likely To Do This Weekend”, I’d have been pretty confident that “What is buying a new car, Alex?” would not have been a winning answer.

And yet, here I am.

As regular friends of the decanter will know, we are in the final weeks of prepping the two Elder Gels for packing them off to grad school. Part of that prep has been subjecting Eldest’s middle-aged Honda CRV to a pretty intense check-up, which involved taking it round to three different places to have its insides looked at.

The resulting list of Things That Need To Be Done Right Now was……illuminating, if discouraging. Of particular note, everybody (including two different mechanics who said they wouldn’t touch it themselves) said that the tranny was about to go. The total estimated cost of repairs wound up involving lots of zeros.

Yeah, no.

Actually, when I say “buying a car”, I mean only that I signed some papers brought home to me and that the money is coming out of my wallet. The actual research, leg-work, test-driving, and haggling was all done by Mrs. Robbo and Eldest. I loathe that sort of thing, while Mrs. R revels in it, so the division of labor worked out well.

They wound up finding a new Mazda CX-30. (My very first Mazda, by the bye.) I rode around with Eldest Saturday afternoon doing a few errands and was struck primarily at how much new cars have become rolling nannies, fussing at you seemingly about everything: seatbelt and airbag status, proximity warnings, lane management, tire pressure to the nearest psi. – Nag, nag, nag. One fears that the driver will become so hypnotized by all the whistles and bells that he or she forgets to, you know, actually look out the windows. Also, Eldest told me later, after driving at night, that the first thing she had to do was disable the automatic high-beam feature because the combination of our local hilly terrain and oncoming traffic was confusing it.

People! Did we learn nothing from Dr. Richard Daystrom’s ill-fated attempt to run the Enterprise solely by means of the Ultimate Computer?

Feh.

Incidentally, we got the thing from a dealership in Murrland, as is reflected in its temporary tags. Eldest reports that she has not experienced any urge to perform violent, unexpected maneuvers, gratuitously accelerate or decelerate, or otherwise drive like a bat-shite lunatic, so I believe we can eliminate mechanical influence from the probable causes of Murrland driving standards. It’s the people, not the machines.

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