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Eco-cars anonymous

The first step is admitting we have a problem

Are you an eco-car driver? If not, bugger off and skip these few pages because YOU have never experienced pain like the rest of us.

Do you find yourself getting frustrated over all the other vehicles on the road? Buses taking advantage of you; motor sai guys hitting your side window and not even stopping to apologise; hipsters overtaking you on their foldable bikes -- the list goes on and on. Put simply, there is absolutely no respect for us little guys over here.

Fellow eco-car drivers, it's time to give up the resentment and anger (of the fact that we can't afford a slightly bigger vehicle among other things) because it will get you nowhere. Instead, we're going to show you how to achieve the happiness you deserve with this easy, nine-step programme.

The nine steps of Eco-Cars Anonymous (ECA) are as follows:

1. Admitting we were powerless over Yingluck's incentive programme for first-time car buyers.

Yes, we fell for the scheme. Yes, we said to ourselves "Ooh! B100,000 back, why not?!" Yes, we bought the car without thinking about maintenance costs. And yes, we're still trying to pay it off. Once we acknowledge the fact that we were merely victims of a populist scheme, then the recovery process will begin.

2. Accepting that all eco-cars are equal.

We know how hard it is, if you're a Honda Jazz driver, to think of a Suzuki Swift driver as a decent, safe and responsible counterpart when most of the time you see them doing the exact opposite. We often resort to making generalisations like "Swift drivers are the worst!" or "Oh great! Another Yaris driver who doesn't know how to drive!" and that is just not constructive. Instead, we should focus on how well we are doing, breathe deeply and pray that one day a garbage truck will ram into that knob-head in the other car.

3. Understanding how others see your tiny metal box with wheels.

Ever been to a posh hotel in your eco-car and asked for a valet? You know the drill. First, they think you're an Uber dropping a guest off; then when you ask them nicely for your car to be parked for you they give you this mixed reaction of disbelief and horror, as if nobody has ever dared ask them to do such a thing before. It's important to know that it's not their fault. They're so used to parking cars that look like something out of Transformers or ridiculously shiny ones with a d-bag driving it.

4. Remembering that buses are not worth the fight.

Contrary to the case of David vs Goliath, in this case, David (yes, your tiny vehicle is the underdog in this situation) will lose. You're driving an eco-car that can barely fit three people in the back whereas the bus is a gigantic rectangle that's designed to crush you without mercy. If they want to go in front of you, let them go. Sure your dignity may take a few hits but those evil giants are not worth losing your side mirror over.

5. Surprise yourself with the amount you can fit in your car.

Four-wheel drivers like to overestimate the amount of stuff they can fit in their vehicle, and they have the right to do so. After all, they've invested in that extra trunk space for a reason. With our dainty little things though, you'll be surprised how much you can actually squeeze inside (once you put all the seats down and chase out all your passengers). We've managed to tuck a whole bicycle inside a Honda Jazz, by the way. So go, surprise yourself.

6. Acknowledge how little you spend on petrol.

It's all about the little wins in life, folks. Sit in your friend's Mercedes-Benz, go to the gas station and get ready to gawk at how much they have to pay. Sure, they've got like a million horsepower, but can they get a full tank for less than a thousand baht?! We don't think so. Ha!

7. Forget about the extra features.

Bluetooth? So unnecessary. There's nothing an AUX cord won't fix and you won't even need to go through the fuss of pairing and unpairing your devices either. On screen GPS that will probably get you just as lost as your iOS Maps? Pfff -- what a waste of time!

8. Realise that you don't need the speed.

Even though your speedometer suggests that your tiny metal box can go up to 240km/h, it's important to get to grips with the fact that when your car starts shaking and vibrating at 120km/h it's a sign that you should slow the f*** down. Stop thinking you're an F1 racer or an extra on the millionth Fast And Furious film. Just stick to where you're comfortable -- at like 60km/h and be nippy about it.

9. Appreciate the beauty of being extremely small.

Parallel parking, super easy. Squeezing through small gaps, middle finger up to that Ford Ranger. Yeah, f*** you, giants. Parking in places that aren't even a designated parking spot? You bet. Relish in the fact that when you park in neutral, people can move your car out of their way with a one-hand push.

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