Dianne and I rented a car in Palo Alto to travel from the home of some family members to a conference in Monterey where I was giving a presentation.
Avis presented us with a beautiful, light blue Crown Victoria.
Now, we can no longer claim to be young people, but we didn't think we were old enough for the Crown Vic. It caused a moment of self-evaluation. Did the young woman behind the counter look at us and conclude that we were of the Greatest Generation? When you're 22, does everybody over 40 look pretty much the same?
I briefly thought about asking if she had anything smaller than an aircraft carrier on hand, but then I thought, what the heck, let's go for the Crown Vic experience.
Now I have to admit there were some advantages. For example, it comes with a built in GIS that gives the nearest Perkins location at all times. It has a pop-up video screen that shows nothing but Matlock reruns. You are automatically allowed to park in disabled spots just for showing up in a Crown Vic. The seats are big and wide enough to allow you to gain about 300 pounds and still fit comfortably behind the wheel. Nobody passes you on the freeway because they think you're an unmarked squad car.
And, it drives like a dream. It drives like a Westin bed floating in a cloud on a calm day. It drives like whipped pudding served on a silk napkin. It drives like Mel Torme used to sing. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the "Velvet Fog" owned one of these. Come to think of it, it drives like velvet fog.
The downsides? Well, we visited Dianne's niece who works at the Google complex. I'm pretty sure we were the only Crown Vic in the parking lot. In fact, I'm reasonably sure we had the only American car of any make in the parking lot. Cool Google hipsters looked at our car and just assumed somebody's grandparents were visiting.
Another downside is that even one Crown Vic doing the short trip from San Francisco to Monterey consumes enough gas to drive up your price at the pump by about 2.5 cents and contributes enough greenhouse gasses to increase Earth's temperature by another degree. Sorry.
I may never drive a Crown Victoria ever again, but for just one brief shining moment I felt like I was living the dream. The dream of a much older person it's true, but still a dream.