Redesigning Cars in My Spare Time

When I’m not pondering the great questions of the universe like whether to risk getting peanut butter in the jam jar or jam in the peanut butter jar when using one knife to prepare a sandwich, I like to invent things or come up with ways to improve on things that have already been invented.

This week I’ve been thinking about cars. I have two major beefs with Vinny that I think could be remedied in the 2008 Toyota Sienna. Heck, I’d buy a 90’s model Astro if it came with this first feature.

1. Short Pointless Errand Child Care Device (SPECCD) — I came up with this device last Thursday as I was running short pointless errands with my way-past-naptime kids drifting in and out of consciousness in the back seat. Every 3.5 minutes, I would have to stop, take them out of their car seats, corral them into a store or post office, complete a 2 minute task, gather them once more, strap them back in, wait for them to fall asleep and then take them out again for another quick stop. Laylee begged with actual words to be left in the car. Magoo just gave me that look that says, “I don’t know how but at some point in my teenage years I will make you pay for this day of torture and humiliation” and then he bawled like a 2-year-old.

What they don’t realize is that I’d like nothing better than to leave them in the car if I had any assurance that they wouldn’t be kidnapped or nuked to death in the hot summer sun.

There has got to be a way to equip a car with a built in babysitter, possibly a “bot” or “cyborg” of some kind. If it was a kind, nanny-type of cyborg, you could leave it in the car with the kids and a sawed-off shotgun. If it was more of the turn-on-its-master-and-take-over-the-world variety, you could give it your credit card and let it pick up the cilantro for you while you snoozed in the car with the kids. The possibilities are endless.

2. Silent Automatic Locks — I am a door locker. Much to Dan’s chagrin I lock doors constantly, keeping out thieves, solicitors, bad guys of all kinds, and sometimes Dan or myself. But at least the kids are safe… alone… in the house with all the knives and nonorganic shampoos.

I’m pretty serious about this, even in the car but sometimes I forget. Then frequently as I’m driving around, a vagrant, hooliganite-ish teenager, or traveling street performer will walk or unicycle up beside my car and my hand will jump to the automatic lock button. Then comes my dilemma. Do I trigger the loud lock, letting the person know I’m locking them out because I think they look creepy or do I leave us unprotected to save their tender and possibly psychotic feelings?

I tend to think that most people who look creepy already know they look creepy and the last thing their self-esteem needs is for me to rub salt in their wounded egos by giving them the you’re-creepy-door-locking signal.

Tell me. If you’re reading this and you are creepy, do you know you’re creepy? I suspect you do so wouldn’t it just hurt your feelings if someone locked the door whenever you came around? You could be harmlessly creepy. Maybe you just have really bad teeth, large nazi tattoos and a sweet spirit. Who am I to judge?

It’s like someone running away and hiding their infant under a blanket when I come near because they know I’m baby hungry. Maybe I am, and I know I am but it doesn’t mean I’m gonna eat your child. You should just keep one arm over the child for protection, then snatch and lock them up when I get far enough away that I won’t notice.

So for now that’s what I do. I keep one finger on the trigger as they walk by and when I think they’re far enough away (this distance varies based on their apparent hearing loss or iPod volume) before giving them the big creepy repellent click.

I would not have this problem if my locks were silent.

What features would you add?

the reasons: Band-Aids, sun in the Pacific Northwest, reconciliations, samples at Costco

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