Baby, Can You Drive My Car?

When I drove my new car off the lot last week, I quickly learned that I don’t know how to drive.

Oh, I have a license. And I’ve been doing it for 30 years now. Yet, I felt like a newbie those first few days. Because cars have changed a lot since the last time I purchased one.

I bought my Hyundai in 2002. That hardly seems like the Dark Ages, yet it came standard with a combination CD player/cassette deck. I was excited about the cupholders, for crying out loud. In contrast, my Mazda includes an infotainment system with 7″ full-color touchscreen display, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio connectivity, blind spot monitoring system on the driver and passenger side mirrors, a rearview camera with traffic alert, dual-zone climate control, outside temperature gauge, auto-dimming interior mirror with Homelink, and cupholders. This was all a bit overwhelming at first. Actually, I couldn’t even figure out how to start the car because – much like hotel rooms these days – it’s got no key, boasting instead a “Keyless Entry & Start System.” The one thing it does not have is a CD player, but it does come with multiple USB ports for connecting with an iPod, not to mention SiriusXM satellite radio.

Sure beats the cassette deck that my Hyundai came with.
Sure beats the cassette deck that my Hyundai came with.


Seriously, it took me a couple of days just to get used to all those features. I was so busy trying to figure out the controls the first time I drove it, I missed my exit and ended up crossing the Columbia River into Oregon, and then had to turn around and drive back across the bridge in the opposite direction to Washington.


But after taking her up to Seattle for the weekend, I’m beginning to feel more comfortable behind the wheel. I have to admit, it’s nice never having to take my keys out of my pocket. And even though I’ve never had a moonroof before, after just a few days I’m wondering how I ever lived without one. Just wait ’til summer.

So, that's how it got its name...
So, that’s how it got its name…

So, while I may be busy searching in vain for cigarette lighters that no longer exist – not that I’ve ever smoked – at least I’m having fun doing so. Love my new car!

Are there any products that have become so technically advanced they challenge your capabilities to operate them efficiently?


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

14 thoughts on “Baby, Can You Drive My Car?

  1. ” it’s got no key, boasting instead a “Keyless Entry & Start System.”

    Wow, Mark, you can tell that’s been 14 years since I owned a car because I had no idea such a thing was even possible!? So how do you start the car, do you have to press in a code or password? Or do you have to slide a card through a slot like a hotel key?

    “And even though I’ve never had a moonroof before…”

    Me too. I thought they were called a sunroof!? And wow…I bet it’s gonna be great when summer arrives and you can slid that roof open. NICE feature!

    And yes, this new camera I recently got has challenged my capabilities to operate it. OMG, there are so many buttons and features on that thing. I’ve gotten the manual out MANY times, trying to figure out how to do something. But I know that eventually (after much practice) it will all become second nature.

    Glad to hear that you’re enjoying your new wheels!


    1. “Do you have to slide a card through a slot like a hotel key?”

      Picturing that made me laugh out loud, Ron! I kind of wish that was the case. All you do is push a button; as long as the key is in your pocket, it emits a radio wave that is recognized by the car, and the engine starts.


      And to answer your sunroof v. moonroof question, according to the Internet: “Just as a sedan is a distinctive type of automobile, a moonroof is a type of sunroof. Sunroof is the generic term used to describe any panel in a vehicle roof which can let in light and/or air. While most sunroof panels are operable, some may be fixed.The term moonroof was used in the 70’s to describe a glass panel inbuilt electric sunroof, and is now used generically to describe all glass panel inbuilt sunroofs. An inbuilt sunroof is one where the operable panel slides between the vehicle roof and headliner, and is often powered but may be manually operated.”

      There you go. Clear as mud!


  2. Great shot of the moon! I have never bothered to learn my Bluetooth system because I hate trying to drive and talk, even when it’s a live person in the passenger seat!

    When we moved, we had to switch cable companies and it has been impossible for me to learn how to view their On Demand. I’ve tried numerous times and have actually ended up in tears of frustration. TWC sucks!


    1. I wish I could take credit for the moon pic, but alas, I found the photo online. I guess I should have given credit for that in the caption. Oops.

      You think TWC sucks? Out here, Comcast gets just as bad a rap. I think cable companies in general leave much to be desired. And I actually had to send back a new cable modem last year because I could not figure it out.


  3. Love the shot of the moonroof. I must confess that a product that had me baffled was an electronic wine opener. No need to actually cut through the wrapping first, just install and after a few whirls the cork is supposed to be removed with wine ready for consumption. I struggled for several minutes without being able to secure a hands-free fit before going back to the traditional wine key.


    1. I have one of those electric wine openers, too! And while I can figure out how to open the bottle easily enough, for some reason I have trouble figuring out how to recharge the damn thing. You have to get it in there just right or that damn green light blinks at you incessantly. I don’t blame you for sticking with the tried and true wine key!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoooooa. Look who commented! Now, we just need to get Tracy Cutler on board (preferably logging in under a Stephen King character’s pseudonym) and it’ll be like a freakin’ WordPress reunion. Maybe you’ll actually write a blog post next.

      Quit laughing!!

      And whadda ya know, dear – you’re right. There IS a CD player in there! Who knew?!


  4. My phone is a constant source of bemusement. I cannot understand WHY all my apps need to be updated several times a day. (So maybe I exaggerate a little.) I’m so old school that I think that if something is working. just. fine. it doesn’t need to be “improved” with updates that just eat up my limited memory. Sigh.


    1. And to think I balked at the idea of buying a phone with a built-in camera. “What do I need that for?” I asked the salesman, but alas, there wasn’t a single model that didn’t include a camera.

      Now I get it.

      And I agree…phones are definitely way too complex these days!


    1. The answers to your Mini question can be found one post back.


      I came this close to buying one, but in the end, common sense prevailed. Thankfully. I love my Mazda!


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