Gerald’s new wheels
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.