Friday, July 08, 2005

Measuring up, trading down

I got a new car. I've had it a week, and it's very nice, but ...
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A few days after we traded in the old Jeep Cherokee Sport, known as Bob the Truck in our family (and more often, just "The Truck"), I read the following in my horoscope: "A choice may be required today to respond to either your more materialistic desires or your highly idealistic standards." (too late, it's a done deal) "When it gets down to it, choose behavior that enhances your honor."
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Now what's that supposed to mean? Enhancing my honor? In whose eyes? As far as my kids go, it's a nice ride. We traded up, you see ... 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, and that's as new as it's gonna get around here. Henceforth known as Spot (poor thing is white and perpetually dirty), even my husband likes it, as in "can I drive?" every time he gets near it. He even went out and bought new splat mats for the backseat (heavy duty, for the kiddos) and a sun shade (black interior, was getting way too hot in the sun, problem solved). And looked at seat covers, but was too smart to actually buy them, as it is really MY CAR.
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But there's that nagging little drinking problem. With the last car, with every car I have owned, I have had to do the math to know exactly how bad the mileage was (and I compare every car to my old sainted Blazer, averaged 25mpg for the first 150,000 miles, you can't beat that!). Now I have a nice little computer readout, just push a button, can even monitor it AS I DRIVE. Now, as I run my little errands around town, stopping and going, short little trips, AC blasting, windows open (kids never had power windows before, the novelty should wear off soon, I hope!) I can't even fake good mileage. It's all there at the push of a button. Ever wonder what kind of mileage you're getting while stuck in traffic trying to leave the fireworks? Try not to think about it.
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So while I would like to send letters to Ford about their low-mileage fleet, I just can't be that hypocritical. I'm now right there at the bottom of the barrel with all the other SUV drivers. At this point, I can barely even claim superiority to a Hummer. I don't even measure up to my own idealistic standards.
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But there's another math equation where I do measure up: actual miles driven. Back in the days of the sainted Blazer, I averaged 20,000 a year (some years over 25,000) and that was for eleven years. That's a lot of miles, so even with great gas mileage, that's still a lot of gas. Now I drive maybe 7500 ... yep, for the whole year, and that includes the occasional trip back east (which could eat up nearly 2000 in only two weeks!). Of course, now that my husband actually likes my car, that will increase a bit, but I promise to keep an eye on the odometer.
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I can make all the excuses I want, but family comfort is paramount. And I'm just more confortable in an SUV. I can haul my kids (we can even squeeze in a friend now!) and stuff (I'm always hauling STUFF, even before children populated my vehicle) in comfort, which means no back pain, with a nice stereo.
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All it needs now is my dancing bears.

1 comment:

Running2Ks said...

Have your sexy beast. Me, I'm in the Buick until my minivan dreams come to fruition ;)