Friday, August 21, 2009


Just before we left on vacation, one last, sad duty had to be performed: the dismantling of The Cart. It had been breaking down as fast as any of us could fix it; even my father-in-law gave up on it. He kept that thing running for years — decades, even — but time and entropy had caught up with The Cart. And so, the inventor called his creation home, and sent a list of parts he wanted off of it for other projects. Removing the motor and transmission felt like removing the heart from an old, dear friend so that some stranger could live.

It was somehow fitting that I should be disassembling it by Bree, who had one wheel in the junkyard, but now has a buyer. Or, at least, a buyer who's 50% paid up.

Even so, I wasn't terribly upset; the Cart had been good for us, but new and better things would come along. That wasn't so much a statement of faith as it was of fact — weeks earlier, I bought a trailer kit, and had it shipped directly to my father-in-law in New Hampshire.

We specifically took Paul's car for the trip, because it has a towing hitch. (The fact that it also had working air conditioning didn't hurt, either.)

A little bit more back, a bit more, a bit more...

So, what did we put on it? A whole 'nother car!

This is a Bombardier Class-E electric car. It used to be my in-law's main vehicle while they lived in Ecuador, but now that they're back in New Hampshire, it's a good deal less practical. But it's perfect for Winona Lake! So, even though it's technically not "ours," we brought it back on more-or-less permanent loan.

NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) have a lot going for them: by Federal law, as long as they are solely electric, don't exceed 25 mph, and weigh less than a certain amount, they don't need to be titled or insured, and don't require a license to drive. They're pretty much ideal for short commutes, too; by most accounts, you have to drive a gasoline-powered car at least 4 miles to sufficiently warm it up so that you don't rust out your exhaust system, among other things. Most of Winona Lake/Warsaw is closer than that! It's certainly generated a lot of interest when I take it places — so much so that I'm probably going to print out a FAQ sheet for people who are really interested.

It took us a little while to decide how to refer to it. "The Bombardier" was too long, as was "the electric car," and "the cart" already meant a different vehicle. Finally, Deborah was inspired by the door closures, and called it the Zipper. It fit.

In the meantime, we've been using a new word around the house: zipar ("to zip"), which I conjugate as a Spanish verb — zipo would be "I zip," zipamos would be "we zip," and... well, here, how about I just give you the chart?

Zipar — Present Tense
Singular Plural
1st. person (yo) zipo (nosotros) zipamos
2nd person (familiar) (tú) zipas (vosotros) zipáis
2nd person (formal) (usted) zipa (ustedes) zipan
3rd person (él) zipa (ellos) zipan

(If you'd like to take this to its logical extreme, you can get a complete set of conjugations for zipar here.)

So now when you're in Winona Lake, and you see a tiny little white car zip by... you know who it is!

Cute, eh? And the car's not bad, either!


Carolina Kerr said...
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Carolina Kerr said...

Not only that, but in Spanish "zarpar" is a nautical term meaning to set sail. So if you want to say "I went off and drove around in the zipper" you could phrase it, "zarpé y zipé".