• ‘Look, daddy. It’s a dinosaur behind the wheel!’


    How would you know if you are a dinosaur? One good sign is you own smart phone and ask children as young as eight years old on how to turn it on. Well, let’s just say that I had a reality check about a week ago. Let me walk you through it…

    A week ago I asked my sister if could borrow her car over the weekend. My ride was out of commission and I needed to go to Tagaytay. So, I went to her house on a Saturday night and when I got there, she said I could use her Mazda CX-7. But before I could drive it out of the garage, I would have to move the van that was blocking the CX-7’s path. Okay, no problem. I could do that, right? So, I got the van out with no problem. But I just had to make sure I didn’t scratch the van.

    Later, I started the engine of the CX-7 as soon as I needed to drive it out. So far, so good. But when I looked at the shift lever and noticed it had a Sportmatic transmission, I said, “Ah, okay. This will be interesting.” I then closed the door, shifted the automatic transmission to reverse and then grabbed the parking brake lever with my right hand hoping to release it. It was then that I realized the Mazda CX-7 did not have a parking brake lever. The car didn’t want to move. I glanced at the dashboard and saw the parking brake light was on. So I shifted the transmission back to park. I tried to get my marbles together and told myself, “Okay, no parking brake lever at the center console…then that means it must be a different set up.” I checked the dashboard just in case there was a switch to engage the parking brake. None. Okay. Then it must be somewhere near the kick panel on the drivers side. So I got a flashlight and saw a pedal with writings on it. Okay, I finally found it.

    Next were the side mirrors that were folded. Now I have to figure this one also. After poking around I found it on the door near the switches for the power windows. So far, so good. Now it was time to bring the car out of the garage. But wait, since the CX-7 had a Sportmatic transmission, you could drive it like a vehicle with a manual gearbox, right? So I put my right food on the brake pedal and shifted to reverse. Then by instinct, I almost put my left foot on the parking brake pedal. God must love dinosaurs and have a good sense of humor to go with it. I would not be surprised if he was watching from the heavens with the angels around chanting “You can do it. It’s not that hard,” while shaking his head and whispering “such simple creatures” with a heavy sigh.

    The drive to Tagaytay was uneventful. I tried using the Sportronic mode once in a while (without the help of my left foot), but I preferred to just leave the transmission operating in auto mode. The interior was very quiet. There was no vibration from the engine, considering the car was about six years old. Keeping the engine revolutions in 2,500-range, fuel economy was very good. But I felt detached from the car because there was hardly any steering feedback. There’s a very big difference in steering feel compared to driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle. But in fairness, I was not that tired after the trip. The average drive time was one hour and 30 minutes going up, same when going down.

    I actually liked it when the CX-7 made me scratch my head. It’s a wake call for me to try and learn new things. We get so used to the things around us we tend not to accept new ideas or new methods. Then we get stuck with the same routine day in, day out. Not good. If they say you should look to the past to make a better future, then maybe we could say we should embrace the future to appreciate the past.

    On a different note, if you want good intellectual reading and something to stimulate your imagination, try reading the “Far Side” series by Gary Larson. I tell you, with good reading like that you get to develop a vivid imagination and a good sense of humor. Life gets better with a good laugh once in awhile.


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