It’s been nearly 5 years or so since I last owned a vehicle. Despite my enjoyment of owning my old beloved jeep, I knew it was time to go without. Since then I have relied on bicycles, mass transit, and my own two feet to propel myself across the planet’s surface. Sometimes I miss the jeep. It did have it’s advantages. But the monetary investment is way more better. I don’t spend any money on fuel, maintenance, insurance, car payments, nor do I need to worry about speed traps nor parking tickets.
However, since I came up to the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with it’s twisting/turning/narrow/deer infested roads I have been driving more now than I have in the past 5 years combined.
Everyone up here is over 80 years old with a few now at 90 or better. And for the most part, they all still drive. A very scary scenario if ever there was one. Slowly, some are giving up driving but not without a lot of fuss and bother. They see driving as an expression of freedom. Not having to rely on anyone else to go places whenever they want. I can understand their way of thinking but the safety issue is a big factor. They may well be able to drive to familiar places like the grocery store or the doctor’s office, but anywhere else and they could get lost or worse. They are an accident waiting to happen.
So, since I am up here and 20 years or more younger than anyone else, I get to be the designated driver. I don’t mind really. My driving skills had eroded a bit from non use so a few miles here and there is not a bad idea even though the roads are in poor condition and traffic sucks.
One good thing, while my driving skills are not what they were, my road rage skills remain fully intact. I can cuss out the other idiots just as well now as when I was a vehicle owner. If they would all just drive like me and get the fuck out of my way, it would all be ok. Just to get even, I drive around with my turn signals on all the time, at real slow speeds, and stop for no apparent reason at inopportune times, just like they all do when they come down to Florida.
See how you like it, assholes!
Anyways, I’ve been driving a lot since I came up here. As I said, it’s ok except for one thing, the vehicle I have been driving. Everyone here owns the same model, something called a Subaru Outback.
It’s a modern, fully equipped, economical, vehicle with tons of options, lots of room, and I hate it with a passion. The particular model I get to drive around and dodge whitetail deer with has every known available option offered by the manufacturer. Fancy seats which can be heated, a little tv in the rear view mirror which comes on when you back up, because turning around is so hard, and tons of other features. The dashboard looks like a jet liner. It’s full of buttons, levers, knobs, displays, lights, and things you can push, pull, touch, feel, adjust, and reset. It took me nearly an hour just to figger out how to use the windshield wipers. And of course, it has a fully operational climate control system. You can make it hot, cold, and monitor the weather outside. I just roll the windows down. Which is a typo because the windows don’t roll down.
Everything in this monstrosity is electrically operated. To open or close a window, press a button. Same with door locks, seat adjustments, mirror adjustments, and more. If the battery ever goes out, one could be trapped inside and suffocate. Even the gas cap has an electric door which only opens from a hidden button on the floor inside. No thanks. Give me an good old Willy’s jeep anytime.
This vehicle is a complicated nightmare and it’s 5 years old. From what I understand, the new ones have the ability to tie into one’s iPhone for more complicated shit.
And while the damn thing gets pretty decent mileage out of a gallon of gas, around 30 mpg, it’s another story when it comes to maintenance. One relative recently had to replace a burnt out headlamp in their Outback. Not something which could be done at home. No sir, one must take it to a dealer or repair shop with the knowledge. To remove said headlight, the front tire must be removed and a panel partially dismantled. Then it takes someone with very skinny arms to reach up inside to change the bulb. Somewhere in Japan, there are engineers laughing at us fat fingered, round eyes.
Other maintenance items are even worse involving some serious outlays of cash. No wonder kids nowadays don’t want to bother learning to drive. Too much crap crammed into a vehicle for my tastes.
If something happened to a family member now, I could very well end up the proud owner of one of these monstrosities. I would take it directly to the jeep dealer and trade it in or sell it outright as soon as I could. I would never buy one of these things.
But for now, I am stuck here and people need hauled around. So I grin and bear it. I just continue to drive slow, with the turn signals on, stopping at inopportune times, enjoying the sounds of honking horns and cussing drivers. Serves them right.
Give me a good ol’ jeep anytime. More better than anything made today.