Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What a sweet ride....

I have to put something up today about what happened last night. It was raining cats and dogs like a good old thunderstorm back home in July. I spotted Manuela standing in a storefront on my street. I stopped, as I feared my cheap piece of junk umbrella was going to give out at any moment. We talked for a little while and she agreed to drive me to the grocery store if I could get her to her car without getting soaked. I agreed immediately because I have wanted to ride in her car. Why, because it’s a white 1975 FIAT 500. I have to get a picture of this car. It’s INCREDIBLY small and basic. The engine is in the back so the hood in front is actually used as legroom. I noticed this first because I was amazed how easily I fit into this car. Manuela is maybe 5’ tall so I could understand how she could have this car but I think I could drive it too. The dashboard consists of 1 dial (speedometer) and 3 switches. So the conversation was (in Italian)…
Me:“Manuela, what does this switch do?”
Manu: “Lights”
Me: “this one”
Manu: “wipers”
Me: “this one”
Manu: “I don’t know”.
No radio, no vents, no power anything. It doesn’t even have a fuel gauge, just a light that comes on when you need gas (well diesel, of course)!! I still didn’t quite understand how you started the car. It had a key you turned but it also has something like a choke lever that you pulled for a short time. A couple other things about this particular car (it’s actually her mother’s car), it has a fabric sunroof that is really cool (but of no use yesterday) it’s 30 years old but with only about 106,000 km on it (that’s about 66,000 miles). It’s probably never been used over 40 or 50 mph, well it may not be capable of 50 mph, or in ice or snow. And yes it’s in great condition and yes I would like to buy it because I’m a nut. It’s such a novelty but still so useful in Italy. It’s the Italian version of VW beetle only a lot smaller. It reminds you of what you need. I think dad’s lawnmower has more hp and options then this thing but it got us to the store and back which is all they need it for. And it’s easy to park.

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