Saturday, September 17, 2005

#198 - Malkin Huffs Over the "HuffMobile"

Michelle Malkin takes the Sierra Club to task for sending an SUV to chauffeur Arianna Huffington to a speaking engagement at the Club's national summit in (where else?) San Francisco. I can only assume that large amounts of money were involved. What else would induce someone to visit San Francisco just to meet with the Sierra Club?

Aside from the fact that I hold no allegiance to the Sierra Club, or the fact that I have been utterly unable to come up with even a smidgeon of curiosity about Huffington, I really could care less about these two eco-nuts who despise everything about SUVs. I mean, sure, it's ironic and everything that the Club used one to ferry The Huffster to one of their Bush-bashing opps, but there's no teeth in that irony.

If you want real hatred for SUVs and most of the people who drive them, ride in my car with me some time.

You may call me a recovering SUV owner if you wish. I know how it is in the Blogosphere... someone makes a statement and the Pajama Brigade are suddenly hacking into every database in the world trying to trip that person up. So, before you get all snarky on me, yes; I did once own what might be termed today an SUV. I don't count it as that personally, however. For one thing, it didn't behave like a typical SUV. I had hoodwinked my then-wife into buying it purely on the basis of my guy-induced lust: It looked cool. It even had a spare tire attached to its rear end! How cool is that?

However, in terms of being an actual muscle-bound, heavily armored, steroid-enhanced, log-hauling piece of manly equipment, it ranked right up there with Richard Simmons.

Those of you veteran (read: anyone older than 30) car owners who understand these things will likely snort into your morning coffee (assuming you drink coffee... I sure don't) when I tell you that my SUV of choice these many years ago was a Chevy Blazer, with the "Tahoe Package."

When you've finished laughing at me, I'll continue.

Yes, I had managed to get my hands on the single most gutless vehicle ever created by General Motors, and I'm including my first car, the ever-popular Vega, in that statement. It had a trailer hitch on it, but if you attempted to tow anything heavier than, say, a bicycle with it, it would go backwards. On level ground. This vehicle was pathetic. It was really just a Chevy S-10 frame with a Blazer body perched precariously on top. I was never happier to be rid of a vehicle when it finally chose to disintegrate rather than face the jeers and taunts of Yugos that were more powerful.

So now I drive sedans. I have become responsible in my second adulthood, and I drive more sedate - less juvenile vehicles. Mrs. Woody drives a Saturn that we picked out as soon as we found out she was pregnant. It has served us well as a family vehicle, although we are leaning toward a mini-van when my bachelor-mobile finally wears out. This may take awhile, because my car is a Honda. It has over 20 years and over 200,000 miles on it, and it's still running. This car will likely still be running when my old Blazer is converted into a Borg-like cube (if it isn't already). I drive this car 45 miles a day for work, and it just hums right along. I'd hum along with it, but it's summer time here in Southern California, and this car has no air conditioning. I'm told by its original owner (Mrs. Woody) that it had air conditioning once upon a time, until Manny, Moe, and Jack got their corporate hands on it.

The point is, neither of my current cars is what you might call a "road hog." They're both small enough that I can fit both of them comfortably in my car port, and we can still squeeze in a visiting vehicle if it's about the same size. When we ride in our Woodymobiles, we are riding relatively close to the ground. If anything larger than a motorcycle is immediately in front of us on the road, we have visibility problems.

That's why I despise SUVs.

The rest of my statements are based on a scientific survey consisting of persons who commute to work with me every day. (That would be me.)

SUVs have huge visibility problems. Let's forget, for the moment, the fact that they have a wonderful bird's-eye perspective on life from their lofty perch. My guess is that they really can't see anything within about a thirty foot radius immediately around the vehicle, which is why they suddenly appear in your lane right next to you, forcing you to slam on your breaks and lean on your horn. They can't hear you, however, because their personal entertainment systems are playing at a volume that would make a Shuttle launch sound like someone sneezing in the backseat. Also, listening for that distinctive bump that means you've just run over a smaller car interferes with the extremely important conversation they're having at that moment on their cell phone. In fact, I have a hard time remembering the last time I saw an SUV driver without a cell phone permanently clamped to their ear. I suspect that these people require occasional surgery to have their hands removed from their ears because the skin will have become fused over time. I can only hope that their insurance doesn't cover that.

So forget the Sierra Club, and pay no attention to Arianna Huffington. If you need someone to come speak at your rally against SUVs, I'm happy to do it. Call it my sense of moral duty. Call it my need to be an environmental hero. Call my agent and make sure my fee is direct deposited.

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