First off, a little background – 58 years old, current “fleet” consists of a 1967 Chevrolet product, a 1991 Jeep, and the “new car” of the fleet, a 2001 Japanese SUV.
None of them have room for more than two people (legally), so my wife and I have been discussing my replacing a couple of my vehicles with a new(er) vehicle w/four doors. At first, I was pretty enthusiastic – UNTIL I actually DROVE a 2012 high-end SUV; instant de-rection!
Why, you ask? Because I’m a SIMPLE SHIT, in a nutshell! I’ve always had a basic rule when it comes to ANY conveyance WHATSOEVER that propels me through the time-space continuum with ME as El Capitain – I should be able to sit in front of the controls, study on them for no more than 90 seconds WITHOUT reading a 7,000 page Owner’s Manual, and be able to cipher out how to make it go forwards, backwards, and sideways.
Well, you can FORGET about THAT in these new-fangled autos! In short, manufacturers (at least for the last 7-8 years) are HELL-BENT on offering up solutions to problems we never knew we had, then cramming them all INTO one vehicle!
All I WANT is seats, a steering wheel, air-conditioning, two side-view mirrors and a rear-view mirror. What I GOT in this particular vehicle was “soft-closing doors” (really?!), both rear AND front parking sensors, rear-view, front-view, AND side-view cameras, heads-up display that projects all my gauge info out into space in my line of vision, sensors that tell me if there’s someone on each side of me at all times, a navigation system that I can TALK to (and worse, that talks back to ME) to tell it where I want to go, the most complicated paddle shifter arrangement to shift with (can’t use the actual shifter itself, that would be too primitive!), push a BUTTON to start/turn off the ignition (Keys? We ain’t got no keys! We don’t need no keys! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ keys!) front, rear, and both sides individually adjustable climate control systems (do I REALLY give a shit if my passengers are at EXACTLY the right temperature?!), 8-way power seats for driver and passenger, individual rear DVD players for the morons in the back that are most assuredly too stupid to make conversation, more leather than a weekend in Provincetown, and more wood than the Brazilian rain forest.
I believe that it had over a dozen airbags too, including a rollover airbag; all-wheel drive for those ever-changing weather conditions here in SoCal (sometimes it gets down to FIFTY DEGREES here at night!), electric opening AND closing rear liftgate, 152 speakers and 4000 watts of stereo power, tire pressure and oil level/condition monitors (how’s YOUR dipstick?); in short, everything I never knew I needed!
At the end of the day (better get home, Pops – your soup’s getting cold!), after much reflection and ball-scratching (’cause that’s what men DO!), I decided that from now ’til when they roll me into the nursing home, I’ll be driving junk from 2005 and BACK. Now excuse me while I load one of my VHS tapes into my VCR and watch a few “All In The Family” reruns…