In order to get out to the sierra you need decent transportation and though buses take you to most places, cars are the real ticket. They allow you to go any place. I don’t have a need for a car on a daily basis at all, so I don’t have one of my own. And though I like to say I have many cars to my name owned by many friends who care for them for me, more and more, I resort to renting one out and enjoying the freedom.
There are some great deals out there. I go to this website which makes the best offers, and then, once I choose the vehicle that best adapts to my style and budget, closes the negotiations and directs me to the car rental of its choice at the location of my choice. It’s the Atocha train station, so the range is fairly wide. Up to this point, it has always worked satisfactorily. But so does my toaster, which doesn’t mean I won’t ever get caught by surprise. This week I was.
They sent me to Pepecar, which was one of Spain’s first lowcost rent-a-cars. Pepecar used to get its name around by renting out vehicles which were white with spots and which had big letters saying PEPECAR splashed over the hood and other inconspicuous places like that. It was their way of compensating the low rates while having you do the advertising for them. When I first saw them, I thought it was a fun and original idea, in part because the “Pepe”, which can be translated as “Joe”, had a silly but effective away of seeming appealing. It was corny and crazy and catered to an unabashed generation. It had all of my support. As long as someone else was driving the car, of course.
I couldn’t see myself dead in one of these, unless I was using it to kill myself and avoid the consequences. And even then, my name would be inextricably attached to having been the driver to sail off a cliff in a Pepecar, and though there isn’t much left to my reputation, I still have that small portion to uphold. I am a man with plenty of complexes.
An even bigger factor was my daughters, who would have suggested I do the same if they ever saw me pull up in one of those. But without them in the car.
So, I raced through the website to get a feel for what kind of publicity I would projecting to the country folk and livestock of rural Madrid, but they were rather vague about the design. They were all white. This unnerved me.