Monday, March 16, 2009
The Golf Cart
When a neighbor in New Mexico offered an electric golf cart for sale at the bargain price of $275, my husband and I thought it would be perfect for running around San Pancho. It was the original Westinghouse battery-operated model, pushing 50. Along with solar panels to charge the batteries, we loaded it in the back of our old pickup and headed south. Getting it across the border was tricky—officials demanding non-existent VIN or registration—and that only the start of the trouble. In retrospect, it might have been better to have gone north, put it on an ice floe and pushed it out to sea.
Our golf cart is all steel, thick step plate bent in flat surfaces around the three wheels. Dents are not a problem. We’ve had it painted an electric green by the local body shop and had the shabby seat upholstered in oil cloth with orange sunflowers—you might call it an admission that it is a preposterous vehicle. It creaks loudly over the speed bumps, metal rubbing against metal, the broken right front spring causing it to list wildly and making the passenger hold on for dear life.
It wasn’t long before the old batteries had to be replaced, for $800, and the solar cells up-graded to the tune of $1300. The batteries charge strongly enough in a day to take us all the way out the jungle road and back, but an iffy cable, and then an intermittently faulty throttle switch have caused us to be dumped time and again, cart abandoned at the side of the road while passengers walk home. Only Green Pride keeps us careening around on it, that and getting to park right up front, and seeing the smiles on each face as we bounce by.
A friend recently moved down to Mexico and changed his name to Lorenzo for the ease of his Spanish-speaking neighbors. A vaguely bilingual worker he hired tried to explain to him that the name “Lorenzo” has some unfortunate connotations. “What does it mean?” the new Lorenzo asked. “Well, it’s like…it’s like…well, you know that guy who rides around on that green carrito? He’s Lorenzo.”