Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A tale of two Mercedes

Mother has two friends, a couple she and late Step Father met in a large shopping centre in the outer south east that may have been parodied by the tv show Kath and Kim. They became friends and met every Friday night at the same cafe in the same shopping centre for a number of years. Step Father died and so that no longer happened but Mother has remained friends with them. Let me call the friends Nige and Mag, as that is close to their names. Nige has mild dementia but his metal work business that began supplying letter boxes to apartment buildings is going gang busters and he is making a lot of money. He is now doing specialised metal work. They live in the best house is one of the worst streets in an unpronounceable and unspellable place called Eumemmerring (believe me, I cut and pasted that). The manufacturing is now done from home with a well set up back yard factory. Her son, his step son, helps in the business. Nige makes the money and Mag spends it. They have just had their kitchen rebuilt for the third time in a bit over five years. A new car is bought every couple of years and this time it is a new Mercedes. "Nige, take it back. I don't like it. It is too complicated", the cry went out. Everything is controlled using a screen, rather like a tablet computer. Whether it will be returned or not, who knows. Mother was supposed to have been taken out in the new Mercedes last week, but the car smelt of petrol when sitting in Nige and Mag's driveway. They called the dealer and he said, don't touch it. A truck arrived and the new Mercedes disappeared. Oh, the ignominy.

Last week Manny was visiting from Malaysia. His friend the retired priest with dementia is now in quite good secure accommodation in Footscray. While he has been to see the retired priest, he has a new friend here in Melbourne. We caught up with Manny for dinner at the Elsternwick Hotel, along with our ex NT politician/policeman friend and his Fijian Indian partner and with ex NT's brother and wife and a gay workmate of his brother. Our ex NT friend could be described as a grumpy old misogynistic curmudgeon at times, but he is also a high achiever. His sister in law takes no notice and jollies him along, sends him up, calls him pet names. While I say he is misogynistic, once he gets to know a woman, he seems to get rather attached to them  and is happy to be sent up by them at times. Of course every woman we know is smart and intelligent. No bimbos in our life.

Anyway, his brother bought his boss's wife's three year old Mercedes for his wife. She really is a hoot and proudly showed us the new car in their carpark. Is it nice to drive L, I asked. I haven't yet, she replied. I tried but it is too complicated, but doesn't it look great?

Is there a theme happening? When we bought our new car, it took quite a bit of time and brain power to work out the screen to control things. I still don't have it entirely mastered, joystick, voice control, touch screen but at least our heating and cooling controls are still manually operated.

R in the course of his volunteer work occasionally drives a Honda Odyssey. He really likes the car but on a cold morning recently he turned the car on and the cooling was blasting out. It took some considerable playing time with a screen to switch it off.

Are these things just becoming too complicated to instantly know how they work?

PS, after 460,000 kms, Tradie Brother has decided to buy a new work car. I spoke to him tonight about Mother's Day arrangements. When he walks his dog, his chicken named Thelma (sorry Hels) goes with him, prancing and pecking along the street to the local park.

26 comments:

  1. After about three years I still have no idea what half the symbols and buttons on my car's dashboard do, if anything, but as you know my car gets me from A to B and back again so I don't care.

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    1. Sit there one day and push all those buttons to find out, then stick tiny labels on them (*~*) (this one does nothing, this one does nothing, oooh, a seat massager)

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    2. Victor, I can't do that. I have to know how things work, even if I quickly forget them and never use them again.

      River, if only it was a simple as buttons to push. We are talking of operating car things using a built in tablet computer.

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  2. We owned a panel van many years ago, so simple not many parts, the beer fairy did most repairs, it ran for 20years then dies a major death but cars now so full of stuff.
    Merle........

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    1. Merle, yes I could do things to cars back then. Not a chance now.

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  3. Eumemmering = you-memm-er-ing; how is that unpronouncable?

    Kitchen remodel three times in five years?? She needs to sit down with a designer and reams of paper and work out exactly what it is she wants from a kitchen. Do it once and do it right.

    As for the cars, I'm even more glad I don't drive. Far too many computerised gadgets for me. Many of our buses are computerised now and when one breaks down, all the driver can do is "a complete shut down and restart" and hope the computer reboots and starts up. In the old days they'd get out and fiddle with something in the motor and be on their way lickety-split. Now all us passengers sit there until another bus turns up and we all transfer.

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    1. River, I think I am becoming dyslexic. The name is just a blur of letters to me. I can pronounce it now, but I will soon forget again and have to go back to sounding it out.

      River, in some ways buses are more reliable now as they don't develop the mechanical problems they used to, but they are worse in so far as they have these high tech issues.

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  4. P.S. yesterday's buildings were very nice.

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  5. One of my brothers recently bought himself a new Mercedes. He is still wrestling with it, and his wife flatly refuses to make any attempt.
    I agree with River (as usual) about the kitchen remodel. Three times in five years? More money (and energy) than sense.

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    1. EC, maybe car designers have to have a rethink about design of controls. Yes, it is excessive but that is how she is. She is a very energetic person, although also petite.

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  6. If only my chickens would follow me.. :) It is usually a case of employing the scary rake to make them go in the direction I want them to go in.. :)

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    1. Snoskred, he does put in a bit of time training chickens.

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  7. I'm trying to forget Mothers Day but mother asked me the other day, what would I like for it. I told her it was the other way round so now I look like having to go down to the Home. I should have kept my mouth shut or asked for money.

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    1. Jah Teh, not like you to be so slow.

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  8. Mine is only a second hand Nissan Xtrail 2007 - and I still don't know what some things are for...for ages I had trouble seeing the instrument panel whilst driving and then some bloke just got in the car pressed a few buttons and the steering wheel was at a lower height - perfect for me and I could see if I was running on empty

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    1. MC, yes, I forget about that in modern cars too. They nearly all are adjustable.

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  9. I used to drive all the time, and all over the U.S. - I taught the Great Scot to drive a manual transmission after we were married. Figuring things out on a vehicle? My Mom used to call my brother to ask him about this, that, or the other about her cars, and he would send her to ask me. I changed tires, changed the oil, even changed out the alternator and so on. I was SO butch for a girly girl with long, red nails and a penchant for cosmetics. Having said that, were I able to drive again I'd want an actual, you know, car. If I wanted to fly an aircraft or play a video game, that's what I would be doing.

    I used to dream of flying... then of running, jumping, and climbing trees. Now I dream of driving.

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    1. Jac, the irony of you teaching GS to drive a manual is not lost on me. You were a Charlene of your time (reference to local soapie) of your time. I dream of never driving again.

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  10. There is way too much tech in cars now... more than 99% of us need. But like you, if it's there, I want to know how it works and what it does. I won't use half of what's in ours but two features I do like are the bluetooth feature which links to my i-Phone so I can legally take a hands free call while driving. Also the auto tyre pressure sensors which tell me what each tyre pressure is and gives an alert if they fall too low.

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    1. Craig, I use bluetooth mainly for listening to podcasts stored on my phone. A friend's Audi how a malfunctioning tyre pressure alert when we were in his car. He became obsessive about it, still worried after checking the tyre pressure with a gauge.

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  11. Gosh, complicated it seems for probably many. Between my husband and myself we usually get things worked out in the vehicles. Kind of like smartphones really, new technology, some can do it, some can't.

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    1. WA, it is just a matter of time and patience in my opinion. You have to take the time to sit in the car and play.

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  12. A colourful cast of characters indeed, your lot.

    Mercs are way beyond my pocket, always have been. So I have no idea about screens to drive them. I am driving a German car of sorts, a Skoda Fabia Estate, made by a firm owned by a German company. Skodas are reliable and very boring but for our little and slow roads they are very suitable. 60m/h on country roads and 70m/h on motorways. It’s gets me wherever I’m going.
    I have enough trouble with my computers to faff around with a car dashboard.

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    1. Friko, yes I can imagine you are feeling a bit anti technology at the moment. Skodas used to see here in 60s then disappeared until about ten years ago. The current ones are much better than the 60s models.

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  13. Is your astrological sign Aquarius Andrew? I know four Aquarians and they all looooove gadgets, so you can see why I wondered :) I was so sure you were going to say Tradie Brother was going to buy.. a Mercedes, until I realized it was a work vehicle!

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    1. Grace, no Libra, a thoroughly balanced person. I can't imagine any of our family ever buying a Mercedes. It would go against our general politics, I think.

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