No YOU Shut Up And Drive
Janis Hirsch illustration

How To Make A Better Car

“You’re Welcome, Auto Industry: More Car Improvements We Can’t Live Without”

By Janis Hirsch

Let Me Paint The Picture – It’s Not Pretty

My closest Farmer’s Market is behind the Beverly Hills Police Department. If you’ve seen “Beverly Hills Cop,” you know the building, although on my first visit to Los Angeles my host told me it was Sammy Davis Jr.’s house and I believed her. For a good ten years.

I’m writing this in March when the only things in season weigh a ton: butternut squash, oranges, sweet potatoes and scented soap. I schlep my produce behind me in a cart, which adds absolutely nothing to my allure, but then at this point in my life, I’m virtually allure-proof.

When I get back to my car, I am faced with three choices: hoist the cart up into my trunk which invariably throws my back out while throwing at least one of my breasts out of my bra; take every single thing out of the cart, put it in the trunk, then put the empty cart in my trunk, then get home and take the cart out and put every single thing back in for the trip into my house which is more annoying than it sounds and it sounds like a giant pain in the ass; or I can eat a few layers of produce until the cart is light enough to lift, although eating 8 tangelos in a row makes your lips blister and your stomach distended. Like I said, “allure-proof.”

Car Improvements: Why Can’t A Lady Get A Hoist Here?

So innovation number one is a Collapsible Claw that attaches to the trunk latch or the backseat clothes-hanger hook. It works on the same principal as the claw game in arcades or in “Toy Story.” I’d angle it over my full cart, claw it and swing it into the car. Talk about your crowd-pleasers!

I could’ve really used one of these when I was in the Costco parking lot, feeling all smug for having bought a side of beef for $7 when I realized the slab is in the bottom of my cart and I’m 5’1”. This meant I had to dive head-first into the extra-deep Costco shopping cart, lift 425 pounds of former cow up to shoulder level, pivot and place the meat in my car. But I couldn’t go directly home because after all this I needed a chiropractic adjustment meaning the meat spoiled in my trunk but it would’ve anyway because I couldn’t get it out.

But with my Collapsible Claw, a snap! Cases of water, luggage, muddy dogs – the Claw does is all.

Car Improvements: And Don’t Get Me Started What This Does To A Weave!

Innovation two? Sliding Car Windows. Why do car windows go up and down and not side-to-side? Is the industry responding to the Sweaty Head lobby?

Have you ever wanted to open your window “a crack” and gotten it right on the first try? Second try? Third try? It’s impossible. When you finally do get it lowered to the right spot your hair starts whipping around so you close the window. If you’re like me, you end up closing your hair in the window. When this happens, and it happens all too frequently, my first instinct is to pull which is how I ended up with a clump of hair hanging from my window like a scalped shrunken head. Which is also how I ended up wearing a bald-spot-hiding beret for most of last June.

However, if the windows slid side-to-side, your cares are gone. You want some fresh air but don’t feel like having the wind whip you in the face? Slide open the front panel. Want a little air circulating but not battering you? Slide open the back panel.

Come on, car industry peeps, it can’t be that hard. Sliding windows have been around as long as there’ve been condos in Boca Raton.

Car Improvements: Hubby-Proof Bumpers

Detachable Bumper Neck Braces. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those thick foam circles you Velcro around your neck so your insurance will cover what you’re positive is whiplash but may be just that you slept funny? I want one for my front bumper and one for my back.

Bumpers used to be made of rubber, you know, the material that bounces. I’m sure they were ugly but between high curbs, low sidewalks and cement parking spot stoppers that I can’t see, my bumper looks like the surface of the moon.

When I first got my car, I used to get my dings sucked whenever there was an imperfection. (This is L.A., after all.) The first few scrapes I got I had my bumper repainted. But come on, even Sisyphus would tell me that bumper beauty was a useless pursuit.

Which is why I’ve come up with the Detachable Bumper Neck Brace. It’s detachable meaning that whenever my husband or son drives my car, they don’t need to be embarrassed. Wait. My husband and son drive my car because they don’t want to get their cars dirty. Forget it. I’m not detaching it, ever.

Car Improvements: Tight Jeans and Keys = A Bad Combo

Here’s an easy innovation: Bendable Car Keys. Imagine how nice it would be to have a bendable key in your jeans’ pocket. As it is now, it either looks like I have goiter on my thigh or if I’m using the smaller spare key, it feels like I’m being stabbed in the leg with every step I take.

Car Improvements: Why Cry Over A Spilled Purse?

Front Seat Purse Clips: You put your purse on the front passenger seat because that’s where it belongs. Invariably during the drive, you open your purse to find your phone, lipstick, a piece of ossified gum that you think you can revive with saliva. And just as invariably, a light will turn red, the car in front of you will stop short or a squirrel doesn’t move as fast as you hoped causing you to slam on your brakes.

What happens then? Your purse tumbles onto the floor spilling everything. No matter how meticulous you are about re-assembling its contents, something will get stuck under the floor mat and when you most need to tweeze that wiry chin hair, they won’t be there.

But if you had a handy-dandy Purse Clip, everything would be fine, except maybe the squirrel. The clip would wrap around the passenger headrest and hook right onto your handbag. It would also work on small dogs.

Car Improvements: A Waste Of Space

One final auto improvement: the space between the driver’s seat and the Center Console either needs to be bigger or smaller. As it is right now, whenever I go to fish out whatever I’ve dropped my wrist fits perfectly but then gets stuck. Remember that movie about the mountain climber whose only chance for survival was hacking his hand off? I know his pain. But luckily instead of a Swiss Army Knife I had some delightful lavender hand cream, which I was able to squirt around my wrist. On second thought, the automobile industry can forget about this one: it’s a nice way to be reminded to moisturize.

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