I’ve always thought that my car had too many buttons. But now I’m not so sure.
At last count, there were 223 buttons of different sizes and shapes. They control the stereo, the lights, the wipers. They open the windows, heat the seats, and reset things I cannot identify. In fact there are a lot of them that I’m just not sure about; so I try not to press them. I fear disastrous results.
I didn’t used to worry about what would happen if I pushed something unfamiliar. I thought, well, I can just press it again if I don’t like what happens. But that was before owning my dearly departed Mini Cooper. It had one button that was strategically located right next to the window control, and it terrified me. My husband, John, said:
“Don’t press that button.”
When you pressed it, the rollover control for the car went off. I don’t know why a car would have that button. The only explanation I ever found was that the Mini Cooper was very much like my dog, Cooper, who loves nothing more than a belly rub. And so I figured that sometimes, my Mini Cooper just needed a belly rub, too. And that button made it all possible.
But this morning I realized that my car is short a button.
Today, I drove to work a different way. It was 8:45, and I was 15 minutes from work, when I got to the end of one road, and needed to turn left onto the next four-lane road. I’m sure you realize that I am a terrific driver, a really nice, considerate, non-assholic driver. So of course I was in the left lane, with my car responsibly flashing its left turn signal. There was a silver Honda next to me in the right lane. Obviously, being in the right lane, he was turning right. He was not proudly displaying his turn signal, I might add. At least not so I could see it.
When the light changed, I pulled forward, and I crossed the two westbound lanes and the left, eastbound one to take my rightful place in the right lane. But my friend in the silver Honda did not turn right – he turned left – from the right lane! And I immediately remembered that, well, he could do that at that spot on that road. He was allowed to.
I cut him off. And I nearly smushed his Honda flat enough to be used as one of those silver plates that cover big holes in the road. Oops.
I felt bad, and not just because of the language with which he described my driving. I am still blushing. But I really do try not to be an asshole, at least when I drive. And when I do act like an asshole, well, I want to mean it. You know, like when someone drives really slowly in front of me, or really fast behind me or smokes in the car ahead of me with his arm hanging out the window so I have to smell it.
But after I cut off the man in the Honda, I tried to let him know I was sorry, that I had made a mistake, that I was glad he was not now in an ambulance, headed towards the trauma unit. But there really wasn’t any way to do that.
That’s where my new button comes in. I want to be able to hit a button and have a light flash that says,
“Sorry, my fault.”
I’m pretty sure though, that my new friend in the silver Honda wants a different phrase to come out when he smacks his new button.