How to save driving as we know it
Just build a really comfortable box with Bluetooth and add, like, twice as many windows. Right?
There are literally millions of things I couldn't care less about. Or maybe I could but can't be bothered to try. Items with redundancy in their names, for instance. Or safety equipment. I'm sure these are very important to things working correctly, they just aren't compelling in the least. Household products like curtains, throw rugs, bath mats, or cleaning products that aren't diluted bleach are rejected by my brain like spam in my inbox. Pop music, Windows software updates, Russia, Crossover/Prius owners opinions on cars, celebrity news, and Donald Trump all tie for first as the least exciting things on earth. I seem to be the sole owner of this opinion; however, as it appears every single website on the internet is dedicated to one or all of the topics I've just listed.
Millions of words a day are hosed around the internet, extinguishing flames of curiosity internet enthusiasts possess for political or sport crossover gossip. All of them pointless, and all of them rote non-sense. Thing is, these nonsensical, un-interesting, repetitive musings are essential to making it through the day for most people. We all know at least one person who is very much affected by the daily doings of celebrities, for instance. They provide a distraction from the daily grind; the toil that is merely surviving. There are some among us that actually live, however; they lead interesting lives, they create and destroy -- they do impactful things. To these people, the idea of just getting by, simply surviving, is the equivalent of death. These people have absolutely no interest in the topics of conversation bandied about water coolers 'round the globe.
They also don't seem to be interested in cars. Perhaps it's just me, but I have yet to meet an interesting person who owns a cool car. The closest person I can think of that is both interesting and drives a cool car, is my father-in-law. This is a man who daily drives either a C6 Corvette or a red mini-van, a man that has held every conceivable job on planet earth. He's built, raced, and crashed race cars for forty plus years with the SCCA and has more stories than the collective works of Ian Fleming and Dr. Seuss combined. On the flip side, however, I also have a friend called Duncan who is a truly unique and fascinating person, who once rode his bike in the rain, at night, with an iMac strapped to his back. It was as if the automobile didn't exist in his world at that time. Then there is my friend Mike who holds more degrees than a thermostat and has literally discovered a word(!) that hadn't been spoken for thousands of years. He recently moved from an ancient CRV to a less ancient Accord, because he needed an car.
This makes me wonder; how many other people -- interesting or otherwise -- are not driving cars because they see them as uninteresting or bothersome? They see them as things that need to be maintained and cared for. They see them as earth murdering, death traps that are designed to remove all of the money from their bank accounts every time there is some to be removed. Cars to these people are a burden that they then have to explain to other people who are also not interested in cars. But what if things were different? What if not every car had to be good?
As car enthusiasts, we more often than not, fall into the trap of thinking that every car sold needs to be at least as good as a Wraith to be considered usable. We spend countless hours dissecting every minute detail about each and every new model that is put in front of us, hoping that we will find some nugget of awful to cheer about. Personally, I find this to be a very entertaining undertaking. Finding creative ways to dismantle a crossover or Porsche is easily my favorite past-time. There are times, however, that I feel this constant nit-picking is one of the main reasons non-car-enthusiasts remain non-enthusiasts. They fear ridicule and aren't interested enough to find out some facts about their cars to defend the little turd box that gets them places, so they avoid the "car scene" like the plague.
So what would happen if manufacturers started to produce a car that were just that; a car. They could put near zero effort into making them look good. They could possibly use a standardized drivetrain that is shared throughout the industry to keep costs as low as possible. The main focuses of these "cars" would be; fuel economy, reliability, safety, and dirt cheap, rock bottom, no frills pricing. Imagine being able to order one from Amazon for a couple grand, so long as you were willing to accept it in white. These cheap-as-chips cars should be lightweight and nimble, with amazing visibility. They should be easy to park and even easier to drive. They should have massive storage space in the rear to hold iMacs, or volumes of four-thousand year old text, or even a couple reasonably sized dogs. They should have many airbags, and bluetooth connectivity.
In short, they should be everything that a person should want out of a car that they don't have to care about. After all, they would have a vehicle that gets them to and from places as often as they choose, on their schedule and not the local government or Uber's. It wouldn't be good looking, nor fast, but it would connect to their iPhones, and the heater would work. More importantly, they would be driving. Anyone in the world of marketing will tell you that getting attractive people to use your product is the fastest way to get ordinary, unattractive people, to give you money for said product. In this case, I think it would be the quickest way to get interesting people driving cars again. Which, for those playing at home, would lead to more normal, non-interesting people driving cars again. Which leads to fewer buses and more demand from consumers for new and fresh automobiles, both of which are very good, indeed.
Clearly then, the best way to save motoring is to produce something objectively sterile and entirely un-interesting for those of us in the automotive world. And for those of us who care about cars and driving, we should celebrate the fact that so many new drivers are joining the roads with us. As we know better than anyone, once you experience the joys of driving your own car to places that you want to go, the idea of going back to depending on your local government to get you places seems utterly preposterous.
PS: What's up John and Pat, the only two people I know have the constitution to make it this far.