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Tough Tofu Bells and Whistles

By Deems Tsutakawa For The North American Post

According to the federal government and some of my friends, I am apparently now considered a senior citizen. This label has actually been with me for several years now, but the gravity of such labeling has also been denied by me and many of my peers. Of course, these child-like attitudes and values can have a very positive effect on our activities and moods. No matter your age, one must stay busy with friends, activities, and labors of love.

I recently purchased a slightly used Subaru Outback from my sister-in-law. It is in perfect shape and is fully loaded, to use the vernacular, aka “fancy” by my standards. The car was located in Spokane and the pickup trip coincided with a glorious golf outing week with four couples. When we arrived at Jean’s sister’s home to get the car, we were somewhat busy and I didn’t read the manual for a few days. There was a hotel, takeout food, poolside partying with our friends, and, of course, lots of golf.

Oddly, I spent two days looking for the parking brake when my friend Jerry suggested that maybe it’s a push-button brake which hadn’t dawned on me. Sure enough, on the left side of the dashboard, under the steering wheel and barely labeled, was a push-button brake. Push it once and the brake is set. Push it again and it is still set. Eventually, I tried pulling it and voilà! The brake released and I could drive. What a relief.

It has a DVD player that you cannot use unless you go online and get permission. My new car also tells you if you are not exactly in your lane. When I navigate around a cyclist or dodge a pothole, the car beeps to tell me I am not a perfect driver. I do like that it has an 18-gallon tank, but the first thing you notice on the dash is what type of gas mileage you’re getting. I find this to be another waste of electronics, as I really don’t care if it is 26 or 29 MPG.

I am thankful to have the car, obtained on the “family discount” for sure; however, there are still many “bells and whistles” on the dashboard that I still have to figure out. Lucky me.