Spreading Smiles

I was stoked when I inherited Mark’s convertible after he bought a hybrid car. The weather was the best it had been all year, and rollin’ with the top down was an invigorating reminder of how great things have gotten.


Then, after a couple of days of hearing a popping sound, a small piece broke off right when I was heading out of the driveway for paddle board yoga. I couldn’t help but feel guilty-I had just had the car for a week or two and already I screwed it up. This is why we can’t have nice things. I told Mark anyway, and he began to nag immediately about taking it to the dealer for a quote.

We took it all right. On top of having a TERRIBLE experience with that dealership’s service department, we learned that convertible top + fixes due to lack of routine maintenance would be higher than we were willing to pay. (I would go into detail about the dreadful experience, but this isn’t that type of blog. If I wanted to complain on the web I’d be an avid Yelper. I’m not.) Suddenly, we found ourselves car shopping for the second time in one month. 

A few hours later, I drove off the lot in a brand new Mini Convertible. I ADORE it. Just looking at the showroom of the dealership, it’s like the car was branded just for me. And it’s TINY. I’M TINY. Perfect. 


The best part about it isn’t that, though. It’s not about how the BMW manufactured go cart for everyday use has the smoothest handling of any car I’ve been behind the wheel of, either. My favorite thing about the car is the way it brings smiles to people’s faces. People just love seeing the toylike motorcar zipping around town. It is, after all, a little ridiculous looking. 

I was sitting at a stoplight today when I made eye contact with someone who was panhandling. He was situated on a grocery cart that had been upended onto it’s side in the median, looking down and off onto the ground in the distance. The corners of his eyes and lips were tilted downward slightly more than his gaze, in a predictable manner. I instinctively looked inward to the car to see if I had any food, though I knew that I’ve been taking care of keeping the vehicle clean, then turned back and gave him a half-shrug with a half smile. 

His whole aura changed, and he stood up and started walking toward me. I was concerned–I thought the half-shrug-half-smile combo was THE symbol for “Sorry that I can’t help you, I would if I could.” My nervousness increased because I couldn’t roll my window down with tint still settling, and I didn’t want to come off as rude to another human being. He came right up, but when I didn’t roll the windows, he mouthed, “IIIIITS CUUUTE.” In that drawn-out way you would to anyone who’s new to lip reading. He then began to laugh, and started to say something, so I opened the door. I apologized and explained to him about the tint. He shrugged it off and said,

“It’s like if you ran out of gas, you could just pick it up and carry it to the station!”

We both laughed and the turning arrow turned green, so I drove off. And I know its lame but I just thought it was pretty amazing that for a second, someone whose troubles are likely beyond anything I’ll experience in my own life were completely forgotten and replaced with “your car is so small that…” jokes. 

Now, I know I’m not changing the world, and my new car purchase is selfish and far from philanthropic. But it sure is nice to spread some joy around here, if only for a moment.

2 thoughts on “Spreading Smiles

  1. Seriously, we must have been separated at birth or something! I ALSO have a red Mini Cooper, although mine is the 4-door Countryman, which fits, because I’m probably a solid foot taller than you. Ha!


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