DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Jack At Memorial Park

March 5, 2012 3:00 AM

dyr los angeles DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Jack At Memorial Park

“I am a virtuoso at drumming my steering wheel.”

The Ride
The Driver: Jack
Car in Question: 2007 Toyota Prius
Spotted at: Memorial Park, 14th St., Santa Monica, CA 90404
Car’s Nickname: Babs
Odometer: 43,325


Q: You’re the fourth Prius driver I’ve encountered today! How did you know you wanted this car?

A: My buddy, Josh, got one. This was around the time that the Prius was kind of cool, I guess. It was very environmentally friendly. I thought it had a cool look to it. I still think it does have a cool look to it. And I needed a new car. Obviously gas was an issue! I wanted to save money there. I had a Volvo station wagon that would cost me about $80 to fill up once every two weeks. Crazy. This one costs me about $20 to fill up every month, so it just seemed like a no brainer at the time.

Q: Yet this is the first black one I’ve seen today. Why black?

A: It’s the only color to get. Every other color feels like I’ll get bored of it, like you know you get a tattoo and you think at some point I’m going to get over this tattoo. That’s what it feels like to me to get any color car that’s not black. Maybe that’s lame, I don’t know. Black also looks slick when you wash it.

Q: So why is your car called Babs?

A: Because the Prius talks to you especially when you’re doing navigation. You know, “Left turn ahead,” and it’s a woman’s voice. I don’t know why, but from a very early stage in owning this car, I decided that that woman was named Babs. So that extended itself to the entire car.

Q: Do you ever get mad at Babs when she takes you on a wrong turn?

A: Yes! Often times, we will get in an argument, which will result in me pressing the “suspend guidance” button.

Q: You give her a time out?

A: Yeah, you give her a time out. You know, she’ll suggest some meaningless freeway route when everyone knows the 405 is not going to be a manageable option. She doesn’t have that kind of foresight. She doesn’t know L.A. as well as I do, so I just suspend her–put her in her room for a bit. And then there’s another button called “resume guidance” So if I feel like we’ve had distance, you know like our lover’s quarrel is over, I press the resume guidance button, and then she’s right there waiting for me.

Q: No apologies at the end of the drive?

A: Turn left ahead. I’m sorry for the way I behaved last night.

Q: So, can you tell me about a really awesome road trip that you took in Babs?

A: I’ve done a couple trips up to wine country in Central California, which is always great. I’ve done a few trips into Joshua Tree, which is nice. Driving into the desert is great in a Prius because you can get there in one trip. I think you can actually get there and to Palm Springs and back in one trip in a Prius, which is pretty great.

Q: Did you treat her with premium gas afterwards?

A: I don’t think I’ve ever actually treated her with premium gas. She’s a woman of the late ’80s, if that makes any sense. Pre-grunge era–’92 was never her thing.

Q: Aside from road trips, what else do you use Babs for?

A: Well, I live in Venice and work in Santa Monica, so I don’t drive the car that much–you know, to and from work. Sometimes, I’ll go on a drive on the PCH, but I don’t drive all that much. I’m very lucky that I don’t have to commute far for work. That’s probably why I only have 43,000 miles on a car that’s a 2007.

Q: Do you have any frustrations about driving in L.A.?

A: No. My girlfriend has to drive to Woodland Hills every morning. She’s constantly complaining about traffic on the 405 and on the 101. You know, it’s a big part of a lot of people’s lives in this city dealing with that. I’m really lucky. Traffic is not a part of my life.

Photos and interview by Michael Shen, blogger of

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