The motoring life |

The motoring life

Ever since my trusty Subaru turned over some 1.8 million miles, I’ve been thinking about what kind of car I would like to replace it with if it ever dies.

I’ve always been a Toyota kind of gal – until I bought this Subaru. It has never broken down, and it has only been in the shop twice in the four years I’ve owned it. I’m also kind of intrigued by the hybrid vehicles, and I wouldn’t mind having a little truck again. I like the retro appeal of the PT Cruiser, and the funky attitude of Volkswagon’s New Beetle – especially the new convertible.

But I think I might have to buy a Mini Cooper.

I first saw these cute little cars in a New Yorker magazine a year or so ago and have thought about the sleek fenders, little snub nose and European flair ever since. Then I received the Mini’s Manual of Motoring, and I was sold. Lock, stock and barrel.

Motoring is far different from merely driving, in that it provides a heightened sense of exhilaration and gives you reason to sing in your heart.

In fact, the first rule of Mini Motoring is making beautiful noise. This can be done with your right foot as you rev the engine. Add your strumming fingers on the steering wheel and a tap on the roof. Windshield wipers add a rhythmic whoosh, whoosh, whoosh to the mix.

The Mini has lots of storage room, despite the fact the car looks only a tad bigger than a Big Wheel. For starters, there is no reason for a glove box – a belief most non-glove-wearing Americans have long held and therefore use the compartment for such useful items as old ketchup packages and unopened toothbrushes.

Nope, in the Mini, the glove box serves as a mini-refrigerator where, with the push of a button, you can chill, say, your mint patty to 40 degrees or crank on the heater and warm up your SuperBurrito. The Mini, the Motoring Manual says, goes great with mayo.

The Mini has numerous cubbies in which to stash stuff. Some suggestions include the passenger side floor for crumpled up parking tickets or stacking up to four pizza boxes, slots for toll-road coins and a door cubby that can hold a cell phone or Travel Etch-A-Sketch (depending on your priorities, of which an Etch-A-Sketch would be one of mine).

The Mini’s headlights are designed in such a fashion that they can be used during rescue missions, like when a sexy guy’s cat is stuck in a tree. The headlights are affixed to the hood, so by raising and lowering the hood, you can wake the entire neighborhood and scare the cat out of the tree. It’s also handy for attracting luna moths.

No Mini – and in my opinion, no vehicle – is entirely whole until its owner gives it a name. My vehicles have sported such names as Maynard, the Warthog, Tyrone and Lucille. My Mini will be named Myron.

And Mini owners, it seems, are inclined to give their Minis racing numbers. A lot of thought must go into the selection of a number, the Mini Motoring Manual says. No. 1: Have you really earned it? No. 2: Who wants to be No. 2?

The Mini Motoring Manual encourages its drivers to “Freestyle,” which involves getting to know your country’s pavement styles before taking off to the track.

There are the accessories inherent with owning any new car, including kitty grass. Grow it in a pot, then turn it on its side to give it the appearance that the wind is whipping through its blades on the Autobahn.

I think I’m set. I’ll buy a red-hot Mini with room for pizza and a bike and motor to my heart’s content.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or when she’s not out freestyling.

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