Travels with my Smart (car) revisited

I drive a micro hybrid Smart car.  People often ask me how I fit all my golf stuff in a car THAT small.  I direct them to this article I wrote a couple of years back when I first test drove the Smart.  I wanted to buy one and Mercedes Taiwan were kind enough to let me drive it over a weekend to find out…not all about golf but there is golf included…

Its weeny, but tough!

Friday 2pm:

John Good and Martin Chiu from Smart arrive at my office.  They have kindly driven the Smart car over so I have to at least pretend to want to talk to them.  At least my office is bigger than the car and so don’t feel too embarrassed.

Friday 2:10pm

Can’t stand it anymore and beg to be taken out to see the car.  My staff are already outside looking at the car.  The volume of the “it’s so cute”s actually exceeds EPA regulations.  Police come down to see what all the noise is about.  Martin is talking about the features…when will he let me drive it?


Martin…he is going to show me how to drive it first…hmm, it is his car I suppose…


I am shocked at how much room there is inside car…start thinking about whether it is too geeky to use lines about Dr Who and his “bigger on the inside” time traveling machine the Tardis…decide against it.


Me driving now.  Stop at traffic lights.  Engine stops.  Oh my lord.  Did I break it?  Marin chuckles at me.  The engine actually stops COMPLETELY when the car is stationary.  This is supposed to happen.  Saves a lot of petrol AND emissions.  So that’s the new Smart’s secret!  Nice one.


Am smiling as I drive.

Saturday 4am

Wake up 4am for golf.  Naturally.  Really!  Not sure if it is golf or the Smart.  Decide it must be both…


Suddenly realize I have to take my golf clubs and three boxes of prizes in what might be the world’s smallest car…hmm…


It’s all in the back of the Smart! This is not a car for a family of four…but I actually got everything in there.  I will admit that my driver (a very long golf club) had to be taken out and slid down the side of the car but still…


Bottom of hill leading up to golf course.  A moment of doubt…this hill is steep and I am not driving a Hummer.  I am sweating but the Smart takes the hill easily.  I start thinking about Tug Boat metaphors for Article…mental note to go to creative writing school.  The automatic gear change was a little jumpy on the hill but generally pretty smooth.


Arrive golf course.  Feel like Rockstar because Course attendants all surround my little car smiling.


It is not the first time I have wished that a round of golf would finish quickly, but it is the first time I have had this feeling when I have been playing well!


After golf they see my car.  Grown men squeal like a heineken advert about how cute the car is…then recover and ask me “how it handles” and “what mileage I get”…police arrive to ask what all the noise is about, see the Smart, and leave, laughing.


To the coast


Arrive the coast.  Park car in space normally reserved for a dust bin.  People gather around my Smart (Again!))


Sitting on verandah of café sipping ice coffee.  Smart sitting in chair next to me having a margarita (I am kidding, Smart would never drink a margarita when it has to drive!)


Drive back to downtown Taipei.  Park next to another Smart.  Am I chuckling again?


Shopping.  I am sure that Smart is missing me…but Smart needs to learn to be independent so I am strong and leave him for a while.

Sunday 6am

Wake up!  Is it too close to drive to the 7/11 to get the paper?  Decide it isn’t and drive the 45 yards to the “SEVEN”…then think again and drive to the other SEVEN which is 75 yards away.  There is a third one about 95 yards away…hmm…?


I promised to go running along the river with friends on Sunday morning.  Do I have to?


American Club Car Park.  The Guard smiles at me and I think he recognizes me.  He doesn’t.  It’s the car.  My running partners see the car and the usual happens.  I am getting used to it now but inwardly I am pretty happy to have a cool car for a while…park next to a big four wheel drive.  Does “cool” beat “huge”? Its like Johnny Depp Versus Arnold Schwartzenegger…


Lunch with friends.  I know what their reaction will be and have warned the police of a possible noise violation in downtown Taipei…


Off to Keelung (the next city from Taipei).  It’s a freeway.  Not optimistic about the top speed I can get up to…but figure I should at least test drive the car.


Arrive Keelung.  Wow.  Apart from some road noise I did not feel like I was going THAT fast…decide to tell John and Martin from Mercedes that my max was 120kph…LOVE driving around Keelung parking in very small places because I can…I have lived in Taiwan for a LONG time.


Hunger alone stops me from driving forever.  I go to the night market and am thinking about just driving through the market ordering from the car window.  I decide against it…

People nearby are smiling at me like I am somebody…Mick Jagger eat your old heart out.


Drive back home to Taipei.  A little more sedately this time.  Listening to Brazillian Jazz…seems to fit the car…and the sound system isn’t all that bad!


Arrive home sadly aware that this is my last sleep as a Smart driver…I check the petrol gauge.  It says I still have more than half a tank left.  I have eaten 7 times since I started driving the Smart…there must be something witty I could make out of that in but I can’t think of a way to say it…

Monday 10am

Martin from Mercedes arrives at my office.  Actually thought about how long I might be able to get away with just pretending I was out…


Feel like the little kid from the movie “Shane” waving at the cowboy played by Alan Ladd as he rides off into the distance.  I remember discovering that Alan Ladd was only 5’2”.  Alan Ladd packed a lot of punch for a little guy…


About THE Steve

I work, I play golf, I write, I have opinions, I try to be nice to animals and small children. That's me.
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