About a week ago, I signed up for the Car2Go service, and yesterday my member card showed up in the mail.

So last night Helen and I took one of the little cars for a ride.

6a01156e3d83cb970c01901e674768970bIt is surprisingly, pleasingly easy to snag a car and be off.

You figure out where they are through an app on your phone. A map pops up, showing you the locations of the nearest available cars. You put your thumb on the one you want to reserve, and then you have 30 minutes to go claim it.

Here's where the card comes in: you swipe it against a reader sitting on the car's dashboard on the driver side - swipe it even though the windshield is between you and the reader - and the system records that you've shown up and unlocks the car.

Inside, there are instructions to toggle through on a touchscreen, but not many. A prior user had left a Starbucks can inside, so I checked a box to say the interior was not in optimum condition.

Then we were off.

The engine doesn't have a lot of pickup, and the drive was sluggish. But high-performance locomotion is not the point, is it. The ride was still fun. Like taking a Vespa out.

6a01156e3d83cb970c01901e67479c970bHaving set out with no particular destination in mind, we dropped by the house of some friends unannounced. "What's the point," they said. "You still have to drive yourself." "True," I replied. "But I can see times and situations where you want your own wheels for a one-way trip."

We'll see!

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