Going Downhill

It started as a theory.  An hypothesis.  And naturally, my scientific research proved my conjecture correct.  At least to the best level of scientific certainty I could muster for this particular experiment.

And so now I know exactly why the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket.

It’s the cars.  Or specifically, it’s the cars folks are driving.  Actually, it’s the specific cars specific people are not driving that is causing all the trouble.

“Huh?” you say.  OK.  I’ll back up.

It started last weekend when our family was gathered around in the family room watching a movie:  Spy Game.

I sat up a little straighter during the first scene when Robert Redford/Nathan Muir rushes across Memorial Bridge to CIA HQ at Langley in his Porsche.  [And not only because he was driving in the wrong direction,away from Langley, either.]  No, I sat up straighter because I knew that he was going to save Brad  Pitt/Tom Bishop who went rogue. (No, Brad did not quit his job as Gov’ner of Alaska.  Pay attention!)

Of course Robert Redford/Nathan Muir was going to succeed.  Was there ever any doubt? No! Of course not!  Folks who drive Porsches always succeed, don’t they?  Isn’t that how they get the Porsches?

Well, that first scene made me think.  I thought back on my extensive experience with spies, espionage and intrigue.  Since I’ve been in the DC area for the better part of 30 years, well, obviously I know a lot about spies.  Osmosis works, you know.

Anyway, that’s when I hypothesized that it is the lack of seriously cool cars in the hands of spies that has doomed the US to being a second-rate power.   You see, I live not too far from CIA HQ, and I sometimes drive right by it on my way to work. 

Hmmmmm, I thought. I don’t remember seeing cool cars driving into or out of Langley.  But I needed proof.  Damn.

Now, you can’t just hang out outside of CIA HQ.  They frown upon it, even.  So I knew that I had to be sly.  You see, in 1993 there was a terrible incident where bad guys drove in through the front entrance and started shooting people.  As a result, the CIA folks guard the entrances quite carefully, which is pretty smart.  And I’m usually glad that they do.

Well, except for one night.  That one night on the way to my house, some friends took a wrong turn and entered the facility.  Oops.  They were stopped and searched; the guards even searched the salad Zoe was carrying.  Good thing the Supreme Court hadn’t yet ruled that salad-toting folks could be strip-searched, even though the salad was still naked so it would have been pretty simple.

Anyway, to conduct my research took a bit of sacrifice on my part – I had to “stage” an accident – so I cleverly rear-ended the car in front of me so that I could hang out in front of the entrance to CIA HQ and see what-all today’s spies are driving.  It wasn’t pretty.  I saw:

22 Toyota Camrys

31 Honda CRVs

12 Buick Le Sabres

127 Jeep Grand Cherokees

47 Nissan Altimas

13 Jeep Wranglers

432 Completely nondescript cars

Nondescript car

 and 210 folks who took the bus.

Are you excited?  Envious?  Awake?

There were also several mini-vans with rear windshields covered with those Mom+Dad+Johnny+Suzie+Fido+Fluffy+Flip-flop decals on the rear windshield.  There was ONE BMW, but it was disappointing, too – it was an SUV, an X-3, with a “Love Animals Don’t Eat Them” bumper sticker on the back.

Not a cool car in the bunch.  No wonder our spies are so demoralized.

Or maybe, it is simply having to work here:

*     *     *

Hey, this is my 100th Post!

Thanks everybody for coming back.  You are coming back, aren’t you?


Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Driving, Humor

69 responses to “Going Downhill

  1. Congrats, Elyse. 100 is fantastic. But wait, are you telling me the movies aren’t real? There have to be at least a few spies that look like Angelina Jolie, right?


    • Thanks, Les.

      I didn’t see any spies that looked like Angelina, Brad or Robert. Sigh. Everyone looked frumpy and middle-aged. Perhaps they were in disguise, but more than likely they were demoralized by that sign and just eating too much and drinking alone.


  2. Good post! Happy 100th, Elyse!


  3. JSD

    Great post…especially the punch line. And, of course, I’ll be back!


  4. nigelld

    Nice one 54.5, I bet our UK spies are in the same predicament. Although I haven’t conducted this type of experiment I must say I hope some of the ******’s driving the flash cars aren’t spies, they don’t look capable of spelling ‘sipse’
    nigelld 😉


  5. Ouch. I thought my Le Sabre was cool. Now what? I was thinking of getting a Jeep Wrangler, but it isn’t getting a break. I suppose a Prious wouldn’t make the cut either. Yikes.

    Way to take the cool – make it uncool – and make that a hoot! Congrats too!


    • Your Le Sabre IS cool. But it is not a spy car. All of the cars above are just fine unless you are smuggling folks across the Berlin Wall or racing to save your CIA protegee. For that you need a Porsche!


  6. GOF

    George Bush sign almost made me choke on my Corn Flakes. 🙂
    Congrats on 100.


  7. What are we going to do when everyone drives hybrids? How do you have a spy chase in a car like that? Congrats on 100 – today was my 50th & I didn’t realize it until after I posted. Looking forward to many more!


    • Congrats on your 50th post! I need to go over and read it right now, Benz . But I won’t get there all that quickly, since I’m driving a hybrid!


  8. isthisthemiddle

    Too, too funny. And I really needed some funny today! Congrats, you’re 100!


  9. Spies really need a remedial course involving watching spy movies. This will certainly blow their covers, but it will be worth it to know we have the coolest spies in the world, right?


  10. I bet all those Buick LeSabres are retrofitted to shed their skins to reveal red Lamborghinis when the shiz goes down in the spy game.

    Congrats on 100 posts, and best wishes for hundreds more!


    • Thanks, Peg.
      I would like to go along with the retrofit idea, but then I would have to think that the spies among us were really idiots — they should use their magic cars to get through DC/NOVA traffic and they don’t.


  11. Congrats on reaching 100 posts! Here’s to 100 more.

    Please tell me that sign was photoshopped.


    • I wish I could say it was photo-shopped. I wish I could say history was photo-shopped, too. But alas, neither were.

      Thanks for the kind words, Paprika!


  12. I used to own a Porsche. Hot Wheels makes some kick-ass cars I tell you…


  13. What? No one has said the proverbial “Woo hoo, 100”? Here it is. Congratulations.


  14. Woo hoo! Congrats on #100!!! I liked the way you just worked it in at the end!

    The sign cracks me up, but at times, I felt bewildered during the post pondering questions as: Surely theory and hypothesis are not the same thing? Why has Elyse’s head been in water during her time in the DC area? Does she have gills too?

    Carry on to your second hundred!


  15. Happy Centennial Post! I’m looking forward to the next 900! (no pressure)


  16. You photoshopped that sign, yes? Because that really cannot exist.


    • Sadly, no I did not photoshop it. There are actually two that say the same thing — you have to see the stupid thing no matter which way you go by it. Sigh.


  17. Michelle Gillies

    Once again you have confirmed my suspicions, “George Bush Center for Inteligence – CIA Next Right”, pretty much says it all.
    Happy 100th.


  18. Oh, I am most definitely coming back! You always start my day with the best belly laugh! But, please…..tell me that sign isn’t for real!!!?


    • Thanks Moms, your comment started my day with a smile.

      But the sign IS real. There’s a brown one if you approach from a different direction. Google images for “George Bush Center for Intelligence.” One picture I saw said it was “Not Far from the Bill Clinton Center for Chastity.”


  19. My Spy Guy is Austin Powers…he would be horrified at the lack of imagination in that parking lot. Very dull baby, very dull.


    • I agree, Tops. And not one of the ones I saw looked like they had been modified to turn into boats, shoot flames from the hub caps or track down counter-spies remotely. What are we coming to?


  20. bigsheepcommunications

    I’d like to think that the CIA HQs (and all the cars in the parking lot) are just decoys and the real spies are somewhere else, driving cool cars.


  21. Hi,
    Congrats on the 100th post, and I am looking forward to more. 😀
    Where are all the cool cars? That is very disappointing, and doing all that research as well, but I would like to know what really is in the bus. 🙂


  22. Congrats on the 100th! The 210 who took the bus had the right idea… a chauffeur! It’s amazing what some people will do for research. I commend you on this most scientific of endeavours.


  23. Congrats on the 100th post thing. Impressive. By the way, what’s the difference between a Porsche and an elephant? With the elephant, the asshole is on the outside. Sorry…had to say it.


    • Cute joke. I hadn’t heard it. Perhaps that is why the elephant is the symbol of the GOP — it’s right there for all to see. We just have to pay attention!


  24. Congratulations on 100 posts, and yes of course I’m coming back! That oxymoron of a sign put the biggest smile on my face that I’ve worn all day! 😀


  25. Running from Hell with El

    Congrats on the 100th post! And I love the fact that you also noticed this mistake: “[And not only because he was driving in the wrong direction, away from Langley, either.]” LOL.


    • Thanks. I just looked at it again — and I’m not sure I’m right. But there are always errors in movies made in DC. Stupid little ones like this. The one that bugs me most is that folks in movies often meet on J Street. There is no J Street in DC. Never has been. It was left out (either because the city planner, L’Enfant, hated founding father John Jay or because back in the day there would have been confusion between the letters J and F.)


      • Running from Hell with El

        LOL re “J” street. And yes, in a few movies (I am thinking Patriot Games but I’m not sure) they’ve had cars racing the wrong way over bridges out of DC. I *think* the reason they do that is because the lighting from the city looks cool as you drive into the city, but when you drive out of the city, you don’t see the lights. But the thing is, once a movie messes something like that up, I get distracted and start looking for more mistakes.


  26. I’m not worried about the cars. Everybody’s under cover. The bumper stickers are a dead give away. They’re spies posing as regular people. The cool cars are at home in the garage. But the sign! OMG, the sign! The George Bush Center for Intelligence? An oxymoron, if I ever saw one! I loved this post! Happy 100th!!!


    • Thanks Delajus! Yes, it is an oxymoron. I was once asked what I wanted new President Kerry to do first; I suggested he change the name of CIA HQ back to Langley. Alas, history didn’t happen the way I wanted.


  27. My favorite part was the George Bush Center for Intelligence sign at the end of the post. I didn’t realize they actually permanently emboss comedic material onto metal signs in Virginia. I might have to move there, just for the jokes.


    • Yes, we here in VA are hoots! Then CIA-director George Tenet named the place after FORMER CIA-director George H.W. Bush. I swear that the sign used to include the initials, but my husband says I am wrong.


      • I forgot to say congrats on your 100th post!
        every milestone is something to be celebrated

        p.s. I don’t think I could stomach driving by that sign every day. My respect factor has just grown exponentially for you, and I can only offer my most sincere sympathies. If it makes you feel any better, I live in the state of Texas, where apparently we are supposed to worship the very uttering of the word Bush. You can’t imagine how many Texans rue the day that our beautiful state was sullied by association. Sorry, I need to go brush my teeth. They always feel dirty when they say the word bush.


  28. I would be thoroughly demoralized if I had to drive around in a mini van with a sticker on the bumper that said something inane. Wow. How terribly sad.

    Even little ole me, I have a cool license plate (QBG 01), no bumper stickers (they are stupid) and a very cool car! Ok, not a sports car but cool nonetheless.


  29. The salad was naked?! There are just no morals in DC! Congrats on your 100th post!


  30. I just recently heard a story on the radio, about how the film industry takes shortcuts to convey a character’s personality. Currently, if they want to show the guy’s an asshole, they put him in porsche.


    • Oh. Wait. NO. Say it ain’t so, Nancy. Could Robert Redford be an asshole? No. I can’t believe it.

      Then again, there is a guy somewhere around here who drives an ORANGE Porsche. I’d put him in the asshole category, although I got in a heap of trouble for writing about assholism!


  31. I once had an accident with a Porsche. I was in an Explorer.
    He lost a front end. I had a scuffed wheel. (No, just the rubber part. Those are short cars.)
    Oh, and it was his fault.

    Congrats on 100! Looking forward to hearing more of the reults of your ongoing researches in teh next 100 and beyond!!!


    • But I bet if the guy was a spy you wouldn’t have noticed him thus there would have been no damage! Right?

      Thanks, Guap for following my scientific endeavors. I will try to make the GOP proud with my application of science.


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