Saturday, October 11, 2014

This Week In Not Surfing

Dear Volkswagon,

I really love small trucks. Those little mini trucks with the tiny cabs and the plain styling. You used to make a really great version, picture here, that always catches my eye. I also really love your 1980s style Vanagon. We used to smoke cloves in Ian's orange one on the way to Rincon, Miramar and Hammond's. The Squareback? Great. Rob Wood once dented the lovely white one I'd borrowed from my brother's cute girlfriend's dad. The Beetle? I really, really like that one. Ross Mickel's mom had a perfectly green one when I was a kid. The Rabbit? Fantastic. I drove a borrowed one up to San Francisco from Santa Barbara with nothing but cassette tapes of acid jazz and Astrud Gilberto to listen to. I've owned a few Volkswagons. There was the Passat and the Golf. My wife's family grew up in them, her brother actually born in a Vanagon on a beach in Kauai. Put that in a brochure. In fact, Volkswagon, I would refer to myself, maybe not so much as an aficionado, but certainly as an admirer.

This, then, might come off as something along the long-time-listener-first-time-caller variety of letters.

See, I drive a Volkswagon now. A Jetta wagon diesel version. Boy do I really love the gas mileage! And I don't mind the way it looks! It handles pretty well I think. It parks great (really slips right in there if you know what I mean.) The seats fold down nicely for extra loading. The lights work really well.

But...

The car really sucks.

First of all, it's like a wafer thin mint. Within the first weekend of driving it, I'd punctured a hole in the ceiling cloth. My wife stuck one of those unbearable rubber bumper things on there and the heat reflected from the exhaust melted one of the brake lights. It seems as if a hard rain will scratch the paint. To make matters worse, there a handful of far too annoying design flaws that one just wouldn't expect from you Germans. What is the point of the black hole in the middle of the center console? While my fingers are indeed long, they have no hope there. Why install a flip-up lid for the ashcan that pops open when you sneeze? I forget stuff in there all the time, sure, but you shouldn't be second guessing me. Why in the world would you place the voice activation button on the steering wheel that I can't help but bump at the most awkward moments? Do you suppose I want to hear that terrible lady (who can't understand a word I say anyhow) suddenly interrupt my favorite radio show every time I parallel park? Why only allow the car to be unlocked by key on the driver's side? Is chivalry truly dead to you? Why place the distressingly similar-looking repositories for the windshield fluid and the engine coolant so mischievously close together? Is the vision of an exasperated driver with a turkey baster funny to you?

I have had many people ask me about my wagon over the past year. It is a hot item for a certain set it seems. But, Volkswagon, I always warn with the same cliche: they don't make them like they used to.

Attached are some pictures that demonstrate just a few frustrations.

Forever Yours,

The Endless Bummer New York No Surf Surf Blog of Champions