Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gerald’s new wheels

And boy, are they big

A couple of years ago, when Gerald (then known as WCMIK) became eligible for a learner’s permit, I made a blog post speculating what sort of vehicle would be appropriate for him, and I even invited readers to respond to a poll to give their input.

Among the vehicles under consideration was the Cavalier, El Caballero, with the comment that no self-respecting teenager would be caught dead in something so un-cool, so he would be less likely to drive in such a manner that he would end up dead. That car got totaled last summer when he was driving it and a tire blew (thanks, Fu Sheng Tire Works, for making a tire that self-destructed after only 1000 miles). The Expedition, Babe, was also on the list; Gerald has decided that Babe is also seriously un-cool, since it is a gas guzzler and hard to maneuver in cramped parking lots. But he’s gotten quite skilled at maneuvering it with boat trailers on launch ramps.

The 1974 Oldsmobile was never something he seriously considered – it has handling and gas mileage worse than Babe, without the usefulness on boat ramps. Besides, that car is now a celebrity, having had a bit part in the movie No Country for Old Men. His great-aunt is keeping her hands tightly clutched upon her Volvo. The 1982 Lincoln Town Car might still be available, but it would require a journey (both physical and metaphorical) to retrieve.

A couple of other vehicles came up in subsequent discussion – a 1967 Opel Kadett, in which there would be no danger whatsoever of Gerald ever getting into trouble for going too fast, and a 1983 Mercedes 240D, just slightly the worse for wear after being in a rollover crash (the windshield wasn’t even broken, and the engine ran just fine).

Now that Gerald is over 18, he has access to his college fund, and while he’s preserving nearly all of it for his future tuition bills, he has chosen to spend a small bit of it to buy himself a set of wheels. He bought a set of big ones, with a Jeep on top.

From a fuel-economy standpoint, this wasn’t the best vehicle he could have bought. But he was looking into other factors, such as getting out into the wilderness to camp (hence the heavy-duty gear racks) with some buddies (hence getting a Cherokee rather than a Wrangler). He’s going to college at Arizona State, and it is important to him to be able to escape to the cool mountains on the weekends. And, as the photo attests, he has also discovered he enjoys rock-climbing with a vehicle.

On the more prosaic side, Gerald has also showed his ability to cope with modern red tape and paperwork. The day after he bought his wheels, he, by himself, went and took care of the insurance and registration. That Jeep is his and his alone, and he is responsible for it, and he knows it.

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Blogger Carol Anne said...

It does occur to me that a vehicle doesn't earn a real place in our family unless and until it has a name. That means Gerald must come up with a name for his new Jeep.

If he were attending the University of Florida, I would have no problem naming the vehicle the Gator -- it's dark-green, and it has teeth. But what do you name an aggressive dark-green vehicle at Arizona State? Chupacabra? Golfcoursezilla? Except this vehicle stands for just about everything that golf courses are not.

I'm open to suggestions. What's a good name for a dark-green Jeep whose primary mission is taking people from the desert into mountain refuges on the weekends?

Fri Jul 18, 02:52:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Mom/Grandma said...

You didn't mention that he had been driving a Jeep Cherokee for several months.

Fri Jul 18, 06:47:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous tillerman said...

I think you should call it "You Wouldn't Understand" as in "It's a jeep thing, you wouldn't understand."

Fri Jul 18, 07:08:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Lydia Manx said...

Gila Monster? Or does he need to get flames painted on it first?

Never really named my cars. Cursed at them. Current brand new first ever car owner (I did all the paperwork myself) as of last October is a in Toyota. FJ Cruiser. I still can't believe I bought it. Gerald would approve only if I put on mondo tires. Stereo system sweet.

Fri Jul 18, 05:11:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Lydia, I like "Gila Monster" -- it does sum up that vehicle quite well.

Tillerman, you bring up an interesting and bizarre coincidence. A former fellow graduate student of mine, who used to be Gerald's favorite babysitter (she preferred the term "governess"), is now an English professor at ASU. She and her husband are avid Jeep-lovers, and "It's a Jeep thing" has been a regular phrase in her Christmas letters.

We've kind of lost touch over the last few years, other than those Christmas letters, but with Gerald heading to ASU as a student and Jeep aficionado, we're working on re-establishing communications.

Sat Jul 19, 01:56:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Lydia Manx said...

Carol Anne, but then he'll need flames to meet the color requirements of a Gila Monster. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw his picture and the beast. Mine is a sedate FJ until you get inside and find out I had toys added to the basic package.

Sat Jul 19, 10:24:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Gerald said...

I like the XJ. And a lot of my extras are on the outside. I like the Gila Monster, and it does like sunning on rocks. My mom didn't mention that my right front tire is off the rock. It's hanging a foot off the ground. And it doesn't need flames for it's environment. Mud provides enough camouflage. Of course, there might not be too much mud at ASU.

Mon Jul 21, 04:22:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Lydia Manx said...

I still get double takes on the FJ. I think after years of driving 2nd and 3rd hand cars (all sedans except the 5 speed blue long bed Chevy truck...that was one of my faves) people thought I was going to buy the Camry. The stereo system, backup beeping, center console toys (temp and this cute little thing that tells me when I am crooked on the road..altmeter??) and subwuf in wayback all pale by how it drives.

Glad you liked my suggestion. Let me know if it sticks.

Mon Jul 21, 05:25:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Gerald's Cherokee is a '92 with something like 160k miles, but was well equipped. Gerald had friends into off-roading, so he knew that the tires, wheels, and life were well designed and installed for rock-climbing action. And, the Monster should definitely tow his boat wherever he wants to sail.

Tue Jul 22, 01:57:00 PM MDT  

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