Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Turn Back. Just Turn Back.

Planning to be on the road this afternoon? Then my advice to you is—watch out. Better yet, stay home. I’ve got a brand-new, house-size Jeep…and I can barely drive it.

Is the Jeep mine? Please, no. Is it mine for a few days? Yes. Our beloved Volvo is in the shop again (eleven-year-old cars stubbornly tend to like it there), relegating us to the joys of paying for a rental car when we already own a car. But I digress. I was calmly watering my plants this afternoon on the terrace when I saw a behemoth of a car glide sinisterly, hearse-like, down my block. I had my usual thought, whispering idly through my mind as I tended to my bright marigolds and thyme: Look at that awful car. What an ugly, gas-guzzling piece of hideousness. I can’t imagine ever driving a car like that.

To my surprise, the car came to a stop outside my house. And then out stepped my husband, who waved at me warily. That’s our rental?! I screamed. I’m not driving that! Once in the apartment, Andrew explained that it was the only car available. We had no choice: he had to get to the airport for an overnight trip; and I’d need the car as well tonight, to pick up my visiting parents. We need a car for the next few days, and this is it.

Awful. Awful. As I drove to the airport a few hours ago, I “dominated the highway” and “felt the power of the road beneath my wheels,” which I’m sure were SUV ads at some point, before copywriters began scrawling “guzzled five hundred dollars of gas” and sprinted for the hills. Watch out, little Prius, I pleaded as I changed lanes. Don’t come any closer, I silently warned helpless little cars as they approached in my rearview mirror. I was taking up at least a lane and a half. I felt like I was taking up the whole highway. Even the eighteen-wheelers seemed to be giving me wide berth.

I have a million errands I’m supposed to run this afternoon, but I’m set on doing them by foot: Sacramento’s parking lots have ridiculously small parking spaces, and I’m not really in the mood to flatten a few normal-sized cars as I pick up groceries. I don’t know how anyone can drive these things: I have to actually lift my foot off the ground to press the brake pedal.

So take this as a warning: stay home, stay off the roads, and if you see a gigantic white Jeep with globe-sized headlights and door handles the size of slot-machine levers, turn back. Just turn back. I will try my best not to run over you but this thing seems to have a mind of its own.

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