12/23/2015 03:30 EST | Updated 12/23/2016 05:12 EST

Confessions Of A Non-Car Guy


Confession time. I'm a Canadian guy that knows nothing about cars. Possibly less than nothing.

OK, let me contextualize that statement. I can work the radio, the turn signal, the rear defrost, and the intermittent wipers. But after that, my comprehension kind of falls off the table.

A lot of dudes use car knowledge as a sign of inherent masculinity. "They're big, loud, fast, and flashy. Just like me, baby." Whether guys are behind the wheel or working on the undercarriage (that's what the underneath part is called, right?), they're supposed to feel right at home, with the ol' testosterone embedded firmly in the red. This is why the Fast and Furious movies exist, right? (A franchise I've had zero interest in seeing.)

Although a small part of me wants to join this not-so-exclusive 'car guy club,' I've yet to get around to it. In fact, I'm in-between vehicles at the moment, having recently sold my 2003 VW Beetle (jealous?). These days, I live in Los Angeles, a city where non-drivers rely heavily on Uber. A convenient service to be sure, with one glaring issue: customers are often not given an image of the car that's slated to pick them up. Instead, they're simply presented with the make and model. For a non-car guy like myself, this poses problems. Trying to distinguish a Nissan Altima from a Ford Fusion from a Hyundai Sonata is like a colour blind person staring at paint swatches.

In fact, I kinda resent that my inability to recognize -- and list the boring specs of -- countless vehicles excludes me from being a 'car guy.' Should I not be lauded for my decent driving abilities and spotless record? And how about my high level of responsibility as a motorist? I know the rules of the road inside and out, and have never been inebriated while behind the wheel. (Ever tried crossing the border with a DUI under your belt? A couple of my friends have, and it wasn't pretty, y'all.)

I think my lack of car knowledge stems from the fact my needs are simple. Just hand me the keys to something that works well, can get me from A to B, and won't embarrass me with a particularly shoddy interior/exterior. Once these not-so-stringent requirements are met, Bob's pretty much your uncle.

Last Monday I rented an economy car to take a trip into Santa Monica. The fella behind the desk offered me an "amazing deal," where an additional $10 would nab me a 2015 Jaguar. "Normally $200 for the day, but you'd get it for $50!" Only after I turned him down did he admit there were no other rentals available.

So I took it. But I wasn't thrilled. Sure, the so-called 'status' of driving a high-end Jag through swanky Beverly Hills into Santa Monica (also no slouch of a city) was appealing, I suppose. But mostly I was dreading the idea of being rear-ended in a $75,000 vehicle. Suddenly my no-frills ride had the potential to become a serious financial migraine.

Also -- and admittedly unrelated -- the Jag had this weird dial thing instead of a conventional gear shifter. Guh?


Bottom line, I'm a guy who's just not that into cars. They do their thing, I do mine, and occasionally we join forces to get stuff done. I don't have to know their detailed back story to put them to good use, and as inanimate objects, they take no offense to this. Shouldn't my fellow dude drivers follow their laissez-faire lead? Come on bros, don't leave me hanging!


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