GoCar Adventures on Halloween

by janet on November 5th, 2009

You know GoCars?  They are the tiny, yellow things that are everywhere and such nuisances on the road, yet you’re secretly like, “Oh, man.  That looks fun goddamnit.”  It’s impossible not to stare at the people who are in them, in their cute lil helmets and their unabashed touristy-ness.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, GoCars are GPS-guided, talking minicars (I think they are officially in the class of motorcycles, since we were instructed that we could park in any motorcycle spot “but don’t forget to feed the meter!” they said) that take you on a tour of whatever city you are in.  So far they’re around in SF, San Diego, Miami, Barcelona, and LISBON??

Here.  They look like this:

So I was driving around the week before Halloween, or H-ween as I call it, and saw some people flying about in GoCars.  At the same moment, I saw a bunch of chitlins running around in costumes, trick-or-treating.  I didn’t know where to look!  As I swiveled my head to and from from yellowness to cuteness I heard an angry honk and saw a rigidly proffered middle finger and felt a wave of shame for fulfilling the Asian chicks can’t drive for shit stereotype.  All that could have been avoided if only the people in the GoCar had been the ones wearing costumes!

Bzzzt!  (Wait, what is the correct onomatopoeia for a lightbulb going on?  “Plink?” No, that’s the sound of something else.  “Ding?”)  How fun would it be to tool around San Francisco in a GoCar, IN COSTUME?  Sometimes I am so brilliant it hurts.

I whipped out my phone and immediately texted R2D2, who is always up for these sorts of dorky activities and LOVES being in costume because that’s when he can “appear as the avatar that represents his true self.”  I didn’t even need to read his response since I knew it would be a resounding yes.  In fact, I got back TWO texts affirming this.

We (meaning R2) booked one online for two hours; about the time it takes to do any one of their tours, which include “Downtown,” “Urban Parks,” “Bridge to Lombard,” and something called “Mister SF’s Tour” which is hosted by Hank Donat who writes the eponymous blog. It’s $49/$39/$29 first hour/second hour/all additional hours.

R2’s costume this year was Zorro; he thought though that Spidey would be better for the GoCar and showed up in a Spiderman costume.  He has three of them and this was apparently his first and worst one, which I could tell was getting him down.  “I think your Spidey costume looks GREAT!” I said, trying to cheer him up, but all I got was a sullen “…thanks.”  Anyway, my costume was Zombie Snow White in which I tore and bloodied my legit Snow White costume, put on zombie makeup, and carried around seven mini skulls – ostensibly the dwarfs that I killed and brain-nommed.   We took the 30 Muni to Fisherman’s Wharf, garnering smiles and “HEY SPIDERMAN”s all the way.  “What am I – chopped liver?” I repeated several times, trying it the last couple times in a Long Island accent.  We went to the wrong GoCar station and had to walk to the correct one, but otherwise all went well.  Except for that fact that neither of us paid adequate attention to the instructional vehicle.

I wanted to do the Mister SF tour, but we were told that one takes three and a half hours.  Damnitall.  Bridge to Lombard it was!  We put on our respective helmets (which kind of negated my Snow Whiteness, not to mention R2 had to take off his Spidey mask to be able to see.  Fail.). We turned right out of the station and the GPS magically picked us up and told us when to turn left and right and pointed out exciting things along the way.

The first exciting thing, for me anyway, was our drive through the Marina, which is where I reside.  In her smooth voice, our GoCar said, “This is the swanky Marina district.”  Nice.  I like that description.  “But before you decide to move here, you should know what it’s built on.”  Ut-ohh.  “The Marina never existed naturally.  It was built on filled marshland.  During the Loma Pietra earthquake of 1989, the entire district was completely leveled due to a process called soil liquefaction, in which the ground underneath the Marina turned instantly into liquid.  So you should think twice about moving here.”  Fuck you, GoCar.

Onward!  As you can see from the photo above, (R2 will be upset because he wanted to have his Spidey gloves on for the pic but I snapped it before he could) we sped toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

We went past the actual Marina and took a mini stop at East Beach.  We got back in the car but couldn’t locate, for the life of us, the reverse mode.  Then some kindly Aussies said, “There’s no reverse!  You gotta push!” and pushed us backward.  I thanked them and made a tiny bit of chitchat from where I was sitting within the GoCar, at which point it turned out that they were not Aussies but in fact from the UK and they got annoyed at me for the error.  Sorray!

OK!  Next stop, some sort of building at the base of the bridge.  I wasn’t listening because I was perseverating on how fucking chilly I was.  It was a gorgeous day without a hint of fog (see above) but in the thin, cheapo material that comprised my costume I was a-shiverin’.  I asked R2 if he was cold (he was in a single layer of spandex, for god’s sake) and he was, so we stopped at the Warming Hut for a coffee and snack, and then stopped again outside for a Let’s Be Frank hot dog from their Crissy Field location.  I got over being butthurt that R2 did not remember my post on Let’s Be Frank and ate that shit in two seconds flat.

Then, a winding tour through the Presidio, with some fabulous views and fun curvy roads.  GoCar would say, “Be careful going down this hill!  Remember my top speed is 30 miles per hour.  You know where my brakes are!” but then confused us by suddenly playing very exciting music reminiscent of super fast porn music.

As we sped down the hill and the wind whipped cruelly around our bodies, R2 noted that while this seemed like a good idea in the beginning, it was starting to be a bit like a joke gone bad since we were freezing so badly in our costumes.  I just laughed because it was so true.

We wound around, exiting the Presidio, cutting through the “gorgeous” Seacliff district (which GoCar couldn’t say enough good things about, that fucker), and down California Street near my office.  Back into the Presidio, past the “new film company created by George Lucas” by which she obviously meant Lucasfilm.  At this our ears perked up, because R2 works for Lucasfilm, in the PR department no less, so we wanted to hear what information GoCar was putting out to the masses.  All she said was, “You can tell how much money George Lucas made from his movies once you see the size of the building.”  I told him he should send a rep to GoCar straight away to fix that, but he seemed pleased.

At this point we were driving right near my house (literally – the route takes you to within one block of my apartment) and R2 had the brilliant idea to grab a coat.  We parked the GoCar in front of my garage and skedaddled up to my apartment.  I put on a warm coat and came out of my closet to find R2 in jeans and a shirt.  I felt…betrayed because I couldn’t exactly change into jeans with my face, chest, and arms all dead and bloodied.  He sensed my petulance, instantly understood why, and offered to change into his Zorro costume (which he had brought as a backup lol).  I said, “No it’s ok” all sulkily, and he had the good sense to ignore me and change into it.

Back in the GoCar, down zigzaggy Lombard, and finally back to the station!  The GoCar guy saw us come back and said, “Wait…weren’t you…?  Wait I thought you were Spiderman before?” which was very sitcom-ey and something we liked.

I think I would do it again, mostly to take a different tour because the one we did basically took me by (a) my apartment; (b) R2’s place of employment; and (c) my place of employment.  Not exactly the most thrilling of routes.  But if the point was to garner attention, pointing, and smiles in our ridiculous costumes in our ridiculous vehicle, well, then, mission accomplished!

One Response to “GoCar Adventures on Halloween”

  1. Kim says:

    I didn’t know this existed, but now? Well…now I think I must try it.

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