I took delivery of my 2004 Prius on Friday night. Oh, it is so wonderful in many ways. Now that we’ve made friends and I’ve scratched it in its special little places, I don’t need a key anymore. When I approach, it allows me (and nobody else) to open its door. Then I simply sit in the driver’s seat, push the Power button, use the little gear bar to tell it whether I wish to move forwards or backwards, and press the accelerator to glide smoothly away from the curb.

Yesterday, I drove it down to Moss Beach to place a package of get-well goodies and a plea for information on Robin’s doorstep. Robin underwent a hysterectomy last week after failing to tell her husband to email me recovery updates…and me without their phone number. And so in the middle of the night last night I started imagining Something Going Wrong and by dawn, my imagination working overtime, I was, well, practically hysterical.

Then again, this may have been just an excuse to take the new Prius on the road, and take to the road it did. Oh, the handling, the handling. Vastly improved. Just clings to the road.

Moss Beach is right below Devil’s Slide, that legendary section of US Highway 1 that keeps crumbling into the ocean hundreds of feet below. My nerves are no longer what they once were, and I touched the brakes once or twice along there, wasting momentum that could have been turned into electricity. But see, headed southbound you get a good look at the Slide itself as you approach it and you can tell it’s well named: an unbroken stretch of scree about five hundred feet long and trembling at the angle of repose from the edge of the highway down to the water. Anything that gets on that is tumbled and abraded all the way until whatever is left spatters into the Pacific.

Robin called me not long after I got back home and let me know that everything went splendidly and she is recovering apace. When she gets a bit better, I’ll go down to visit her, which will give me another chance to see whether I can make it down that hill without chickening out and using the brakes. At worst, the battery will be fully charged…at least until we hit the surf.

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