Saturday, August 27, 2005

I Have Met the Enemy and It's In my Garage

As I write this, my eyes are bleary from two-plus hours of reading slightly out of date magazines in a car dealership waiting room -- whilst SpongeBob blares out of the overhead TV and my 5-year-old drains the water cooler (drinking, but also scattering water about the room like a priest blessing the altar.)

And the worst part is that I don't remember anything I read, except a Motor Trend car comparison that showed the vehicle my husband was making a deal on in another room had one of the worst 0-60 times of any car listed. Just what you want to learn as your significant other is signing away every little bit of your expendable income for the foreseeable future.

So you sit there, eyes slightly unfocused, trying not to freak out on your kids sprawled haphazardly on the who-knows-the-last-time-it-was-cleaned carpet and you as you ponder whether you are selling out by joining the lemmings who have jumped off the cliff into their nice shiny SUVs.

If I didn't make myself clear; yes, we now have an SUV in our garage. We have crossed over to the dark side.

Strangely enough, my 5-year-old christened the vehicle "Dark" and has been calling it that all evening. This, without any prompting on my part. She began calling it that as soon as the deal was done; as if somehow she senses that there is something murky about this choice.

Or maybe it's just because the SUV is black.

And not to be heavy on symbolism, but there was a torrential downpour as my husband came into that waiting room bearing the keys to his new purchase.

I can't pinpoint exactly when the SUV became my symbol of everything that was wrong with our suburban landscape. But I have felt daily disdain for the monstrosities that rest in the driveways of nearly every house on our street.

Imagine if you will the typical school function --a parade of gas-guzzlers stream into the school lot like circus elephants linked trunk to tail. And there I am, interrupting the rhythm, with my mid-size coupe. It's actually rather comical to see (if I could see anything beyond the vehicles that surround me)

But I relish my individuality. I wear it like a badge of honor. I may live here, but I'm not like you, and I don't want to be.

As I told one of the car salespeople -- I'm a sedan kind of person.

I like my cars to be cars. I have no desire to drive a truck.

And somehow, we've come to this interloper in our garage.

Here come the rationalizations/excuses --my husband needs AWD because he has a job where he must commute no matter how much snow is out there unplowed on the roads. This is a fact.

His former, now non-functioning, car was a Subaru Outback. And face it, even though it's got that whole rugged Australian wilderness name, it's a station wagon. And when you think macho vehicle, you do not think station wagon.

So after, oh nine years or so of wagon, you can't blame the guy for wanting something a bit more massive (well, I can blame him, but he's got many other redeeming qualities that more than make up for this.)

And it is a small SUV, if you can get around that contradiction in terms. Actually, it's shorter than our station wagon and probably gets about the same mileage as the Outback did before it died a loud and painful death in our garage.

Even as I admire the new vehicle for its shiny black body and large, manly wheels (not to mention the oversized parking brake that brushes lovingly against my thigh as I occupy the front passenger seat) I vow that I shall never drive it. Never. Ever. Ever. Ever.

However, as we climb back into "Dark" after showing it to my mother-in-law, we see a beautiful rainbow reaching up from the horizon. Could it be a sign that the heavens have forgiven us our foray into automotive excess?

With that in mind, I will try to sleep a peaceful sleep tonight, hoping that we have not become the enemy -- and that this vehicle is just another prop in our suburban masquerade.


At August 29, 2005 11:40 AM, Blogger radiocynic said...

Teeny Little Freakin' Baby SUV -- The Rebuttal

Okay, seriously, I love my wife and I love her brilliant writing in all of its forms... but her poetic license taken here, painting me to be some macho-SUV-needin' dude, is in serious need of a brief op-ed.

First, I doubt if I would be referring to it as it truthfully is -- a teeny little freakin' baby SUV -- if I were needing to play it up for macho points. Truth is, I would have been most happy and continually secure in my middle-aged masculiniity to have gotten a lovely AWD Volvo or Ford or replacement Subaru "station wagon", if we could have afforded it... and a large part of my decision in getting the aforementioned (less-expensive) teeny SUV was to save money in an attempt to appease the lovely-and-talented-yet-seriously-cheapskate author of this blog.

I promise I'll continue to dislike SUV's in general almost as much as she does, (and btw, I don't think I fit much better into the suburban landscape, either... though I may more often make the effort of a token friendly wave to neighbors as they pass in their behemoth status symbols.) I still hate not being able to see around the damn things.

So yet another prop indeed it is. And I'll try to only have this one for the duration of the three-year lease.

Hmmm, although, the comment about the large manly wheels, and the parking brake brushing against her thigh may make me need to rethink that... or at least I'll need to make sure my hand often rests on or near that parking brake!

Thank you, good night, drive safely. -- the husband

At August 29, 2005 12:38 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

Umm...darling...couldn't you at least have made up a fake name?

At August 30, 2005 1:24 PM, Blogger radiocynic said...

I was kidding! Well, NOT kidding with the part about intending to keep my hand near the parking brake's proximity to your thigh... but kidding about the defensive offendedness act anyway.

Oh, and about my forgetting to maintain anonymity... sorry about that, but luckily, no one cares in the slightest, so I guess we're still home free!

At January 13, 2007 1:22 PM, Anonymous spencer said...

Hmm - something about reading this post and the subsequent replies is making me feel a bit voyeuristic.

I too recently bought an SUV - it's funny - my Mariner is considered a small SUV - and it is shorter than my previous sedan - but it is almost as big as full size SUVs were 10 years ago.

Of course ever since I bought it, there has been a remarkable lack of snow.

Anyway - guys, close the shades ;)


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