The Right Coast

April 05, 2005
I [heart] my SUV
By Tom Smith

Well, I've finally done it. After years of defending SUV's, sometimes in print, I done bought one. A no-prisoners SUV at that. A 2005 Chevy Suburban Z-71 (that's the offroad equipped model) complete with leather, DVD player for the kids, Blondestar for the spousal unit, satellite radio, and heavens knows what else. It will take me a while to figure out all the doodads. I did skip the navigation system, since I try never to go anywhere I have not been before. Also, there are things called maps. Professor Bainbridge can no longer call me vehicularly challenged. And I'm sure he'll be happy to learn there's another Suburban on the road. Considered the Ford Excursion, but the Suburban drives nicer. It drives like a dream, in fact.

Did you know some gas stations have pumps that just shut down on their own motion when you hit 60 bucks? That was a bit sobering, I admit. Still, it gets 18 mpg on the highway, which could be worse.

Here is what she looks like. Except mine is white. (Couldn't find a red.) All I need now is an American flag decal. Actually, I have one, but it says "Springfield -- America's Armory" on the bottom, and I'm trying to avoid the whole redneck look. So no "Ariana Huffington Can Kiss My Ass" sticker, either. Standards.

I bought it on I'll never buy a car any other way. I got it for well below invoice, and slightly better than the price said I should aspire to. Freeriding off those comparison shoppers, baby. It was about as difficult as buying a book from Amazon. True, they did mess up the paperwork. Former corporate lawyer that I am, I had to notice a mistake, which I corrected, then realized the mistake had been in my favor (that's the former part). So they had to FedEx me new documents, but it was no big deal. Best thing was a rock bottom price gotten from my recliner. You can have it delivered to your door, as I did. Two down home gals drove up my driveway, admired my views and my kids' reptile collection, inquired after my dogs, I gave them lemonaide, they told me the truck drove better than the Yukon XL Denali (lighter and less fake wood inside--though I admit slightly better looking outside), and that was that. Totally painless.

One thing I like is how much more polite other drivers have suddenly become. No more "You want to change lanes? Well screw you!" Now suddenly it's all, "Oh, please, go ahead, you obviously need to get the next exit, so move right in!" They call it "road presence."

PROF Bainbridge congratulates me on my graduation from minivan driving milquetoast, and I am grateful. Actually, we're keeping the minivan. It's the Volvo wagon we're getting rid of. And yes, I do feel like more of a man. But no, real men do not drive Hummers. Arnold is a real man, but his Hummers have nothing to do with it. Hummers, especially the H2, are very silly cars, which haul much less than a Suburban. And Freud couldn't tell me anything about myself that I don't already know. Now I need to get just the perfect set of decals, understated yet menacing. I can't display the USMC or Navy SEAL emblems without lying, and anybody can join the NRA.

SO HAPPY . . . a former student and RC reader has said he'll send me an USSOCOM decal . . . a discrete way of saying "I support killing terrorists."