October 1, 2006
By Scott Lewis
Last month I reviewed my 2006 Mini Cooper S Convertible. I hinted at the car with the July issue, including a small calendar. Well, that calendar is also on this month's column and has been each month since it started. That was the hint, this month I will explain it.
If you look closely at the image you will see a picture of my Mini Cooper faded into the background. But what are all those marks on the calendar and why are we seeing it a month "out of date"? Good
questions. Let's get started and we'll find out.
First, I will explain why the calendar is out of date. There are two reasons, one is the same reason I talk about stuff that happened in the past tense on this site (mostly this is done on Scott's Column). I write the articles during the month before it is posted. So, if I am going to post an article on October 1st (like this one) then the content had to be created during the month of September (or earlier if I can get ahead). So you are seeing September's calendar in October.
But that does not explain it all. Quite right. I could easily create a calendar in advanced... and I have done so. In fact, I have created a year's worth of these calendars. So why are they really out of date. Simply because the marks are added to the calendar as the month passes.
So I guess I need to explain the marks. Hold your laughter... this is going to get very geeky. The marks are checks and X's based on whether I drove the convertible with the top up or down. A check means I drove with the top down... as convertibles are meant to be driven. An X means I wasn't in the mood to tolerate extreme weather conditions, or had passengers that didn't want there hair ruined, and I drove with the top up.
San Antonio gets very hot in the summer months. In July and August the temperature that the Mini's on board computer displayed was over 100 degrees almost every day I came home from work. It was just too much to drive with the top down with the sun beating you up at a 100+ degrees. Granted, the temperature was probably 97-100 most of the time, but when the car tells me it is 104 I keep the top up. I have also left the top up for other reasons, but that is not important.
What's the point? Well, here is the geeky part. I want to see if I use the convertible as a convertible often enough to justify the expense. I mean really, what's the point of having a daily driver convertible if you are going to drive with the top up 90% of the time.
Now, you will notice that some days have two marks while some days have only one. If there are two marks (good, bad or both) that is for days I drive to work. The mark on the top is for going to work, and the mark on the bottom is for coming home. During the summer the top is mostly down in the morning and up in the afternoon. I am expecting the opposite as fall and winter approach.
When one mark exists for the day I didn't use the car for transportation to/from work. On days I don't work I will place a check for that day if I put the top down for any part of the day. Even if I just take someone for a quite drive with the top down on a Saturday, but drive the rest of the day with the top up, the day gets a check. I apply this same logic to the rides home from work. If I stop off at the grocery store on my way home and I put the top down for the trip to the house the entire second half of the day counts. Hey... that's just over 4 miles from the grocery store and it should count for something.
Obviously an X meant I drove the car and did not put the top down at all for the day or for the drive to/from work, whichever applies.
In June of 2007 I am going to add up all the days I drove with the top down vs. up, and I will have some fun generating some statistics.
Until then, happy motoring... with the top down... if you have the ability.