Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another year of service for a 22 year 'old friend'

My red Honda Civic hatchback is 22 years old.  There is a rule of thumb for comparing a dog’s age and that of a human being.  One human year = 7 dog years, according to If there is a comparable rule of thumb for cars, mine must be older than I am. 

At least in the US, the passing of a pet is often a child’s first experience with death.  In other parts of the world, of course, things are different.  A child’s first death experience is often the loss of a brother, sister, friend, neighbor or parent.  In Sri Lanka, five of my friends have been killed either  by assassins or the police.  

Anyhow my Honda just  passed safety inspection for another year.  A bright orange sticker on the windshield  certifies that it can be driven safely, at least until August 31, 2009. This is a remarkable testimonial to the quality of workmanship for which Honda Motors is known. Disciplined maintenance and good luck have helped too, I suppose. 

Top executives of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler whine about the competitive disadvantage they face when up against Honda and Toyota.  My own views, based on sad experiences with GM vehicles over the years (including a very recent truck purchase), is that if American manufacturers built better quality cars and trucks, more people would buy them.

I am thinking about a new vehicle, though what I have heard about the sleaziness of the car-selling business is a bit daunting.  The Honda Element is my first choice - it would enable me to carry my bicycle without mounting a rack.  I keep hoping Honda will bring out a hybrid version.

Occasionally, I seek advice from friends about new car options.  But when I do so in the presence of my Honda Civic, it seems disloyal.  I speak very softly, even apologetically.

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