Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My cool ride......

This is what I drive. Really. Isn't this what you would expect a mom with 5 kids to drive?

Ok - it is what I drive when my Trailblazer is out of commission. But I would love it to be mine. However, my husband chooses our vehicles and when he finds a vehicle, 3 things are always true:

It will be cheap (no more than $2000);

It will be old;

It will have some unique, idiosyncracy that will prevent anyone from
ever stealing it, i.e. having only 1 door (the tailgate) open from the outside, having to touch a wire to a metal part for the horn to beep, having to take the key out of the lock and then back in to get the vehicle to start.

Over the years, we have had some interesting vehicles: the batmobile, which my economical mind refused to drive - it was a monstrous black Oldsmobile; the Toyota Tercel, which was actually a nice car until my husband fixed it. After that when the car was started, we simply appeared in a cloud of smoke. I've had a Ford Explorer that required me to stop, turn on the 4 wheel drive and then back up at least 4 feet to engage it. And many, many others.

I have no part in the chosing. I only pay for the gas, watch the different fluid levels to make sure that things are changed when they should, watch for gauges that may be rising into the redzone, and keep an eye out for smoke.
At my house, vehicles are instruments of control. It is a way in which my husband thinks he can keep me in check. He knows that I do not make unnecessary trips into town, that I hate gas guzzlers, that the thought of filling up my gas tank for as much money as I could feed my family for a month just kills me. He also knows that I have absolutely no qualms in hopping on my bike and biking the 17.3 miles into work. I'm sure if it wasn't for the kids, I would be on my own.

Anyhow, I think it is very interesting how we choose our vehicles. The other day as I was leaving work, I watched several middle-aged men, dressed in suits, with shiny black shoes, the requisite black briefcase, and slicked-back, side-parted hair hop into their minivans. Their minivans with the HV, OBX, HI, AS, etc., stickers slapped on the back end (of the van, not them). I wonder how many of these guys would have guessed 20 or 30 years ago that they would actually purchase a mom-van or a SUV? My husband bought me a red minivan - it was actually a decent vehicle, relatively good on gas, and very, very convenient for transporting our young family. But still, I HATED that van! Hated it. It drove the way my life seemed to be moving: slow, smooth, reliable.

But back to the present: my husband surprised me with a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer. In really good shape. He was so happy to surprise me and I sure was surprised! Surprised that the darn four wheel drive didn't work - got that fixed and it needed something else, got that fixed and then it was in the garage for another week while we waited for the installation of a catalylic (sp) converter. For the nearly 4 weeks we've owned it. we've been able to drive it for a little more than a week. I felt way more bad for my husband (who was trying to provide something safe for the kids and me) than I did about being homebound for so long. And besides, I had the jeep to drive.

If someone had to describe me, I think they would agree that my old, old Ford Explorer with the goat poop, sleeping bag, tent, assorted tools in the back fitted me more than my shiny nearly new Trailblazer. Even the name - Explorer - fit me.

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