Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Smart Car, Smarter Bumper

Thanks to my own recent post about cars and their bumpers (or lack thereof), I can't stop staring at parked cars. I'm a bit obsessive to begin with, and now that I've appointed myself an expert in this branch of the automotive sciences, walking down the street I'm like a horticulturalist in a rainforest, or a priest at a day care center.

Just the other day I came upon this Smurf car:

This vehicle is only three apples high.

Instead of marveling at its diminutive size like an ordinary person, I thought "I bet it's got some kind of crazy bumper protection going on!" And sure enough I discovered a metal bar across the grill.

Pictured actual size

It might seem absurd to have a handicapped bathroom-stall rail bolted to the front of your toy car, but in rugged Park Slope you have to be able to hold your own.

I suspect I may have started out that neighborhood jaunt accompanied by other people, possibly on the way to brunch at one of Park Slope's many fine brunching establishments (where the omelettes are organic and the lines to get in rival those of a new Apple product launch). But memory of such details (and the chance of any companions waiting for me) were obliterated by my obsessive desire to see what sort of protective encumbrances the other end of that tiny vehicle might present me. Which brings us to the rear.

You may believe that pair of metal rods to be a bumper protector, but by this point I've seen enough automotive add-ons to rule that out. Sure, it might double as a fender-shield, but that's not its primary function. I suspected it could be a set of curtain rods for a nice tie-back and valance combination. But standing there on the sidewalk, the enlightenment of familiarity struck me—I'd seen bars like those before:

This is New York City, after all, and I'd bet this tiny car is owned by someone who lives in a studio apartment, and who is so concerned about maximizing space that she or he has outfitted their micro-mobile with a couple of Grundtal racks from Ikea in order to make additional breathing room in their kitchenette.

If that's a pot rack, you might wonder, why is it empty? Well, my literalist friend, seeing as the picture was taken at roughly brunch o'clock, I have to assume the owner was cooking. And if the brunch-date goes well, that car and its loaded racks will make for a nice "Just Married" getaway car. With all the pots and pans clanging around, no tin cans will need to be tied to the bumper as the couple of happy Smurfs drives off to their awaiting honeymoon toadstool.

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