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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Clearly, In Focus

Years ago, (and I love that I can say that now), I used to own a Ford Focus. If you looked up Ford Focus in the dictionary, it would probably say something like:

Ford Focus (Foh,kiss), n, Vehicle. An impersonal, utilitarian cubicle-on-wheels designed to function economically, boringly, with uncomfortable seats with miniscule perforations into which your life essence effortlessly seeps whilst driving.

When you pulled the door handle to access my old Focus, it felt and sounded as if you were opening up a storage container from Staples. Two years ago, we got rid of it in exchange for my wife's beautiful, orange, awesomeballs Honda Fit. I got to drive her 2001 PT Cruiser which, one could argue, was a half-step up from my Focus. Her Cruiser had leather seats. My Focus had the leg up in the never-needed-a-repair department. Conversely, the Cruiser was in the shop around twice a month.

Last year, in April, I presented my fiscally-conservative wife with a list of all the repairs the PT Cruiser had required in its recent history, and the total was significantly alarming. Thus, my 2002 Volvo S-40 entered the scene, and the PT Cruiser exited stage right.

And then, the bitch with no insurance, no driver's license, and no bra hit me on my way home from work last month.

Fortunately, she was behind the wheel of an Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and so they are footing the bill to get my car repaired. While my car is in the shop, I am driving a, hold for laughter, Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

Not only is it an Enterprise Rent-a-Car, it's a Ford Focus.

Reunited, at long last.

When I walked out onto the lot with the Enterprise Rent-a-Toad, I could scarcely contain my unenthusiasm for my new ride, pro-tempore. Here it is, in all its gutless glory:

Now, it may look white, or off-white, or beige, or cream in the photo, but I can assure you that this car is, in fact, green. Not only is it green, it is a particularly unfortunate shade of green that I have affectionally dubbed "Meconium."

For the uninitiated and/or unaware, meconium is described lovingly by Wikipedia as, "the earliest stools of an infant." I need say no more.

My head bowed slightly in despair at the thought of tooling around in a vehicle whose color resembles baby poop at worst, and, at best, the early-morning phlegm produced by life-long cigar smokers, but I took heart, reminding myself that I was temporarily behind the wheel of a car that was eight years newer than my current car, and five years newer than my former Focus. I won't pretend that I didn't notice some conspicuous improvements.

For starters, there are rear headrests! Sure, safety-conscious companies like Volvo have been putting rear headrests in cars to prevent whiplash in rear-seat passengers since the early 1980s, but Ford is finally catching up. My 2005 Ford Focus had no rear headrests, and I can remember feeling bad about that whenever I happened to have rear-seat passengers which, admittedly, wasn't often. Why should your neck snap like a chicken's just because you happen to be sitting bitch?

The interior of this car is, I guess, more upscale than mine was. I can recall my old dashboard vividly, and not because it itself was memorable in any way other than for being extraordinarily boring. Gauges were mindlessly plopped here or there with no forethought at all, and the radio was, um, there. At the very least, this Focus's interior components are a little more cohesive. The ass part of the seat is overstuffed and you feel as though you might topple over at any moment. It feels like you're sitting on a large bag of muffins.

One thing is for sure, though-- Ford has gone to great lengths to get you to remember that you're driving a Focus. How do they do that? By putting the car's goddamned name all over the fucking place. For realsies, it's...

On the passenger-side airbag cover!


On the tachometer!

And, just in case you have some major fucking amnesia, it's...

On a digital readout display that appears, yes, every time you start the car.

I guess Ford's thought process was something like, "With a car this anonymous and boring, we've got to constantly remind the driver that this car is called the Ford Focus." My thing is-- with a car this anonymous and boring, how could it be anything but a Ford Focus? It's not like you're going to mistake it for a Ford Testarossa. Trust me. You'll remember.

I was very amused also, when I started the car, to see the following message appear at the bottom of the speedometer:

Now that, I thought, was truly awesome. In the same spirit that we don't need to be reminded that this car is a Ford Focurse, we similarly don't need to be reminded that it's a rental toy and that Big Brother is watching us at every turn. I realize that there are plenty of people out there who would take great delight in beating the everloving fuck out of this car if they had it for a week, but I'm personally embarrassed to even set foot in it, let alone thrash it around on back roads or flog it to death on the interstate. It reminds me of a time in my life where I made $11.33 an hour, and I don't need to be reminded of that.

Just like I don't need to be reminded that it's definitely a Focus.


  1. Tell me again why you don't write reviews for Car & Driver?

  2. Probably because I'd be good at it.



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