Wednesday, December 5, 2007

water proof boots, a scarf, my new pedometer ...

five years ago i bought a honda civic, which was empty calories as far as car purchases go. but, it was a necessity. i'd been plodding along in an incontinent corsica, staining the streets of duluth with the leaking green fluid. refilling every 20 miles, only to have it immediately go all betsy wetsy on me.

it was going to cost about $2,800 to fix this. not to mention i had a new year's eve party to get to in minneapolis.

what i wanted was a jeep wrangler, something my car advisory committee found impractical and a waste of even a cursory eye roll. to the CAC, a jeep wrangler represented the best way for me to end up upside down in a ravine, gasping through a punctured lung: "should. have gotten. a grand prix."

to me, admittedly, my first thought was that a jeep wrangler would up my resale value exponentially. because i'm okay. but throw me into a pair of acid washed cutoffs, a tank top and plop me into a jeep wrangler next to a black lab named jake and i'm OFF THE CHARTS. but on a more practical note, having a vehicle that treads as easily through backwoods mud pits as it does along boring old stretches of highway seems like a wise idea -- considering i live in a city that has gotten approximately 2 feet of snow before i'd even finished that leftover sweet potato cranberry marshmallow thing from thanksgiving.

five years ago, my car advisory council and i had conversations like this:
me: i'd like to have cruise control. i drive a lot. and while i'm driving a lot, i sometimes stare out the window and forget i'm driving and then suddenly realize i'm going 923 miles per hour and i'm about to disprove gravity.
CAC: well, we think it is more important that you have power windows and power locks. so you don't get raped.

so, whatever. i test drove a ford focus. i test drove a honda civic. i test drove a grand prix. but the whole time, in my head, i was cruising the shore in a jeep wrangler and jake was drooling along to "just like heaven" -- a little smile on his doggie pudd'm.

in high school i sometimes kissed a boy, just because that kissing sometimes happened in his jeep.

obviously, i bought the civic. the CAC let their wishes be known in a way that was too horrifying to ignore: "if you buy a jeep, we will not lend you money ever again. if something goes wrong with the jeep, it is on you. if you flip the jeep in a ravine and need to get a motorized scooter and a live-in nurse to hold a mirror under your nostrils to make sure you are still breathing every second of every day, well, you'll just have to have a zipper installed in your arm to make it easier at the plasma donating center."

there are a lot of things that can go wrong in a person's life. i don't plan for anything like this to happen. but if i end up living in leif erikkson park someday and have to steal someone's cell phone to ask the CAC to send me money for tube socks, i don't want to hear any snarky references to the jeep wrangler incident of 2002.

this is how i feel that things are with my parents. things are absolute truths with no give: this religion, that political party, a jeep wrangler is nothing more than a aesthetically appealing suicide kit with either a hard or soft top. and for some reason, seedlings of this way of thinking still exist now, at 32 years old. and did especially five years ago. a different religion, different politics, owning a jeep ... these are wrong, according to the people who invented right.

this time they were wrong. i know this because as soon as i saw the snow today, i knew i'd have better luck with my civic if i hitched it to a pony's neck and shouted "huzzah!" cracking a whip or dangling a carrot. i just got the fancy idea of driving anywhere right out of my head and put on a pair of water proof boots, a scarf and my new pedometer.

i saw a bus back down a steep avenue. i saw traffic jams that lasted for so long on superior street that cars ran out of gas. i saw about 10 rear-endings in the making on lake avenue. eventually i walked more than five miles, and about four of those miles would have ended with the civic parked in a tree trunk.

i'm not one to hold a grudge. its taxing, and mtv jammed my attention span years ago with its flashing lights and dizzying sounds. but for talking me out of the jeep, for letting myself get talked out of the jeep ... that gets me every single day. at least in the winter. in the summer, i really enjoy the honda civic's sun roof.


Whiskeymarie said...

I have sworn several times over the past week that over my dead, frozen in a ditch in a snowstorm body will I ever be talked out of/talk myself out of a bigger vehicle with four-wheel drive.
And I'll buy a hybrid, if that makes everyone feel better.

nanners said...

the escalade kicked ass in the snow yesterday. i drove over small villages and wild forests without so much as spinning a tire. but my CAC lives in this shit so they know better.

chuck said...

Don't worry about flipping the jeep in a ravine...they have ROLL BARS.

L Sass said...

As someone who learned to drive in the snow in a Honda Civic... you should have bought the Jeep!

Beverly said...

Do you have the money to trade in your car for the Jeep? Do it right now. Go.

christina said...

i don't have the money for that right now. ... maybe by summer. for now: new tires.

amy a. said...

your writing always makes my crappy day better.

feistyMNgirl said...

i like that you walked that far in one day. how non-stressful.\

PS your writing is so fun to read...some days i give up my lunch half-hour just to peruse your pages

Miss Kate said...

I highly suggest the Jeep. I freaking love driving in the snow now. Of course it does cost me $60 per tank and that won't last me to Superior & back.

(And I agree completely with Fiesty.)