The service shop called in the afternoon and I faced a long drive from downtown to far northeast side, outside the I-465 ring freeway that roughly parallels the Marion County line. Call it a dozen miles, more or less.
A dozen miles on a Friday afternoon, most of it on a major, divided-lane, non-freeway route out of the city that turns into an interstate highway once it ducks under 465. A few places, traffic got up to sixty, at which point the Volkswagen uttered a polite bing! and displayed a warning message on the dash:
MAXIMUM SPEEDIt was good to know, but considering I was locked into bumper-to-bumper traffic, not something I could do much about.
Things slowed down soon enough. Most of the last half of the trip was done in "parking lot" mode, as traffic inched through stoplights in fits and starts.
The cherry on top was the very last bit: the road turns into interstate at the cloverleaf with 465 and I needed to take the very next exit, so close you've got to scramble through two lanes of merging traffic to get to it. I, um, "dislike" is too weak a word for how little I enjoy this kind of driving. Traffic was brisk; the VW chided me a few times about going too fast for snow tires, but I got there, put myself in the correct lane, and after a few more turns, navigated the car into the twisty maze of shopping-center and light-industrial streets that wind back to the fancy-car garage with a feeling of great relief.
Those roads are cratered badly enough to resemble the aftermath of a modern civil war. The sleek, low-slung VW CC was not the car for them. I dodged and weaved and finally arrived at the garage.
My Lexus Opera Assault Vehicle was waiting out front, sparkling-clean.
I paid with hardly a wince -- buy the fancy car, pay for fancy service -- and climbed in, dreading the return trip.
Missed my exit to the freeway so I took the next turn and and put myself on a once-familiar north-south arterial. Took it down to a stoplighted cross street and got back on the divided-lane boulevard to downtown. There wasn't nearly as much traffic headed into downtown as there was trying to escape; the outbound lanes were solid and slow but traffic in my direction buzzed along at the limit.
It was good to be back in my own car.