I recently purchased a Jeep, and this isn’t one of those four door Jeeps that middle managers drive with power windows and a top, and which keep all four wheels on the ground when it hits a bump. It’s one of those Wranglers with the crank down windows, the windbreaker top, and a wheelbase so short that the front and rear tires actually touch when you make a sharp turn.
The Jeep was a step up, literally, from the car I was driving before which probably means I’m regressing more than evolving. I know my crazy ex would have been against it but my current beau thinks it cute that my mid-life crisis doesn’t include a cheerleader, a toupee, and a little blue pill.
In my defense, I never went through the immature adolescent stage of getting a Jeep and driving around town with the top off for everyone to see. The first Jeep I’ve ever been in I purchased but it wasn’t my first foray into the world of off road vehicles. I had been driving a Subaru Forester which is a popular vehicle among women wearing comfortable shoes. I thought the Jeep experience would be a smooth transition.
The guy selling the Jeep asked if I had ever been in a Jeep before, I said ‘no.’ He rolled his eyes as he passed me the keys. I opened the door and at the point where a normal door would stop opening, the Jeep door continued to open until it looked like Steven Tyler going soprano.
The actually getting into of a Jeep was quite an acrobatic feat. Since the Jeep was raised with the aid of a suspension lift and bigger tires, climbing in was all uphill; I’ve rock-climbed with greater ease. The door opening was narrow and there was a step to help me get in but, of course, I lifted my leg past the step, those things are for girls, and over the huge lip, then down into the Jeep.
It was then that I realized that my other leg was firmly planted on the ground and there was nothing to help hoist, pull, or push me into the Jeep. I had to crawl out of the Jeep and start over. By the time I actually made it into the Jeep, I was hooked.
At first I enjoyed the Jeep and being a bobble-head on all but the smoothest of roads; that was until day two. Tires actually last longer on a Jeep as it’s so bouncy, all four wheels are never on the ground at the same time. And I go through about a gallon of that blue mouthwash-looking windshield washer fluid daily. The Jeep, as you know, has the aerodynamics of a refrigerator so bugs that would normally get whisked over any other car, get imbedded in the front grill, on the hood, and in the windshield. No matter how many times I hit the wipers, my windshield forever looks like a teenager’s forehead.
The Jeep has made me appear handy. Parts on the Jeep just bolt on and come off with the twist of a screwdriver. Aftermarket parts makers know this and one could build an entire Jeep from the pages of JC Whitney. Since getting the Jeep seven weeks ago, I have replaced half of the dashboard, two fenders, the soft top, six lights, the rugs, the shift knob, the tailgate latch, the air cleaner, the hood hold downs, and the valve caps. The tires on my Jeep can be considered monster truck but my friends seem to think I have room for larger ones. And by this summer, I’ll have enough spare parts to build another Jeep.
Now that I drive a Jeep, my driving habits have changed somewhat. While on the highway, I frequently don’t exceed 55 mph. I found that the Jeep doesn’t have enough power to get past its parachute like stopping abilities. But the lack of speed doesn’t really bother me as I’m too busy trying to keep the Jeep from hopping to the next lane every time I hit a bump.
When going to the mall, I don’t’ just park between the lines. I have to have at least one wheel on something like a curb or a Mini Cooper. Instead of using the driveway at home, I drive up the front lawn and leave it next to the front door. My Jeep also has an upgraded stereo with seventy-four speakers which helps drown out the hurricane force wind and road noise that makes my ears ring if I drive more than 10 mph.
And I now realized what those Jeep stickers meant. With the refinement of Charlie Sheen in sitcom negotiations, it definitely doesn’t blend in. I love the Jeep as it makes me feel like a real man who’s in control and who answers to no one. That is until my girlfriend makes me sell it.