Every time I see a Kia Soul on the road, I think of hamsters.  I wait for the car to round the corner, craning my neck for a glimpse of the driver and passengers, because I clearly expect to see a furry rodent at the wheel.  This is either a colossal success in advertising, or a full-out failure.  I understand the point of the commercial — stand out, move beyond your boring “hamster wheel” of a Cobalt, or a Civic.  Instead of just spinning your (hamster) wheel, burn some rubber.  Well, that last point is a bit ambitious, given the 122 horsepower, but I understand their mission.  Stand out, with your weird ! and + trim lines.  Set yourself apart with “alien” colored body paint.  Define yourself with a houndstooth interior.  Express your angst with a USB jack hooked up to a raging iPod. 

I understand all this, but I didn’t think of originality when I saw the Soul turn a corner out of the school’s parking lot this afternoon;  I thought of hamsters.  When I think of hamsters, my stream of consciousness goes thusly — Habitrail plastic tunnels, Zhu Zhu pets, mice, mouse poop, snap traps — and then all the nightmares of that year we spent living among the filth and stench of being infested by mice.  The year we spent throwing out ruined clothing, checking traps every time we came home, falling asleep listening to skittering little feet, and drowning mice in Finley’s water bowl. 

I’d rather drive my Honda Fit, which,  for its meager 117 hp, at least manages 39 mpg highway, to the Soul’s 31 mpg, and doesn’t ever remind me of hamsters or mouse poop.  How many car companies can make that claim?

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