I hate my car.
I gave up my little gas-sipping sedan when we got married. That car, I loved. That car carried my babies and my receipts and emergency ballet flats stuffed under the seat. That car could be effortlessly navigated into any parking space, had generous cargo room, and windshield wipers that knew it was raining before I did.
It’s the behemoth SUV we traded that car in for that I can’t stand. Why, in this day of rapidly disappearing ice caps and limited resources must I drive the residential version of an eighteen-wheeler?
People on the road probably think this is about status. Maybe I drive this huge black SUV with tinted windows in the hopes that I might be mistaken for a federal agent or elected official. Maybe it’s important to me to sit high above everyone else, like a road-tripping queen surveying her carpool kingdom. Maybe I simply ascribe to the uber-American bigger is better trend and drive this truck because I want to do my part to make America great again.
Activists are sure I don’t care about the environment. How could I? They imagine the inside of my car, littered with Styrofoam cups, incandescent lightbulbs, and batteries I’m planning to dump in a landfill.
The truth is this huge SUV is the only vehicle on the consumer market that can hold our family of eight and more than one suitcase. I’m stuck.
This monstrosity is a ridiculous hindrance. It doesn’t fit anywhere; I dinged three doors before my second (okay third) cup of coffee this morning. The rearview camera and dinging “oh dang, you’re much, much muchmuchmuch too close” back up indicator make me feel like I’m landing a plane. I can’t take the pressure, so I turn them off. I back into stuff more often than Gabe is comfortable knowing about.
The inside of this car is so big we once lost the dog. He’d wedged in behind the third row and fallen asleep. It was only after we’d returned to the park, thinking we’d left him, that we heard him snoring. We routinely perform scientific studies of decay under the seats of this car: carrots get gray and mushy while chicken nuggets look remarkably fresh, even weeks after we can remember driving through.
The children vault over the seats as though they’re training for the men’s gymnastics pommel horse. The interior affords so much room it’s only about every third time that Jack kicks Lottie in the face and we throw the 1000 paper napkins we’ve stashed in the console 30 feet back to her to stop the bleeding.
The noise in this rolling romper room is deafening: shouting is the only way for someone in the way, way back to communicate that, even though they didn’t have to go AT ALL 10 minutes ago when we stopped, they have to pee. Also, they probably can’t hold it.
Ads for this land shark suggest that one need only push a button to collapse the seats and load in any manner of cargo. Want to take your washer and dryer out for a spin on this beautiful day? Load ‘em up – they’ll fit. Truth? Collapsing the back seats and maximizing cargo space is a feat we’ve accomplished twice. It was every bit as physically taxing as birthing my 10-pound baby, and resulted in far less marital joy and connection. Trust me.
Don’t even get me on what it costs to drive around town. If I spent half of what we spend on this car on my physical appearance, Sofia Vergara and I would be twinsies.
This huge SUV is a traveling guilt-mobile. It guzzles gas faster than you could shoot a water cannon at a pipeline protestor. It has an enormous environmental impact that pains me deeply. I am wildly passionate about protecting the environment. We practice water conservation, keep bees, recycle and compost. I am a tree-hugging hippie at heart.
And yet here I am.
One day, when I am not driving half a dozen people around town, I will drive a hybrid. I’ll silently glide around town in my precious tiny efficiency bubble, a shining example of conserving resources and loving Mother Earth back.
Until then, don’t talk to me about the car. It’s a bit of a sore spot.