Forget the chrome and heavy metal on wheels to protect us and our families from being squished to smitherines in the event of an accident on the autobahn. What we really need to be driving in Germany is Marshmallow Cars. This is my summer reflection after having accompanied my daughter in her driver’s training in the U.S. where the streets are wider than wide to accommodate the gas-guzzling enormous vehicles of hockey/soccer/baseball/Lacrosse families with four children and all their gear, not to mention that of their friends. Let the steering or lane change be a little off, there’s plenty of room for error.
Climbing in my car upon return to Germany and manouevering the narrow streets once again made me wake up quickly and realize I would not be qualified to teach my daughter to drive here. No big lazy lanes without obstacles. One has to be on constant alert, and learn how to share the road that is made for one lane of traffic but expected to take two. Brilliant city planners add park places on the side of the street to slow traffic down, meaning only one car at a time can fit through. I do not have the German gene that makes them confident to keep on going while their side mirrors kiss those of the passing or parked car. I’ll bet they all did well on their spatial reasoning tests in school.
If I had a car that was strong on the inside but a big cushy marshmallow on the outside, I could squeeze down any tight lane or through any tight fit caused by the oil delivery truck taking up three quarters of the road. I would not have to back off in reverse and watch the truck guys laugh at me because I don’t dare to squeeze through the tiny space in my car. Or at least I wouldn’t get scratches on the side of my car when I do try to squeeze through and am greeted by the overgrown bushes and scrub going screech against my paint as I pass gingerly through. No, this is not something I can teach my daughter. Sharing a road where there is none.
Engineers were kind enough to create a navigation system for those of us who can’t find our way out of a paper bag. Surely, they must be able to come up with a Marshmallow Car for those of us who are spatially challenged in narrow passages. It could even be a rubber car, fully coated with an anti-scratch protective material. Anything to let it get squished a little and then bounce back, looking like new. Imagine how helpful this could be in tiny European parking places! I want a Marshmallow Car this Christmas.