Friday, October 11, 2002
Eat, Sleep, and Jeep

On my way into campus yesterday -- in my typical on-the-verge-of-being-late-and-feeling-incredibly-frazzled-and-tomorrow-I-swear-I'm-going-to-leave-the-house-a-full-half-hour-earlier state of mind -- I passed a Jeep with a window sticker that read Eat, Sleep, and Jeep, which made me stop for a moment and grin. Granted, it was a Jeep Cherokee, which, to my mind, does not even remotely compare to the authenticity and intrinsic Jeep-ness of my own Jeep Wrangler, but nonetheless, it got me going in terms of musing fondly over my Jeep, and before long I was mentally waxing rhapsodic over the superior qualities of the Jeep Wrangler.

Admittedly, I may be somewhat unhealthily obsessed with my Jeep and perhaps I am rather excessively fond of it. (Think Janeane Garofalo in The Truth About Cats and Dogs -- "You can love your pets, just don't luuuuhve your pets" -- and insert "Jeep" in lieu of "pets.") Admittedly, the Jeep Wrangler is a bit of a bone-crunchingly bouncy ride at times (particularly if one has a pre-1997, non-quadra-coil suspension model, such as I have). Admittedly, if one is driving on the interstate, even with a hard top, it's one loud motherfucker. Admittedly, it is a vehicle that's popular among college-age frat boys, much to my mortification. (And did I mention that it's really, really loud on the interstate?) And admittedly, there is no power steering, air conditioning, or automatic transmission.

But hey . . . I love gruntily manhandling the steering wheel and having a big knobby stick-shift to manipulate . . . otherwise I don't feel like I'm really driving. I love the fact that one can simply remove all of the floor mats and hose the interior of that sucker down, if need be. I love the clever little sliding windows, like patio doors, that come with the hard top. I love that jaunty spare tire mounted on the back, and the fact that the gas tank entrance is hidden inside the rear license plate, which neatly flops down when one needs to fuel up. I love my black, shiny sidebars, my big chunky tires, and the springy black tension hooks that hold down the hood. I love the fact that Jeep Wrangler owners have the special secret "Jeep Wrangler Owner Wave" that's exchanged whenever passing each other on the road. And goddamn, but I do love the Fire Engine Red color of my Jeep!

In addition to being a Roller Derby Queen (see below), my other major childhood aspiration was to be a Fireman. Or, perhaps, more accurately, to get to drive a
Fire Truck. Much to my chagrin, I eventually realized that one doesn't just get to drive the fire truck and hang out upstairs reading books and playing with the dalmatian in between fires, but that one is required to regularly run up and down multiple flights of stairs with hundreds of pounds of fire hose slung over one shoulder in full fire-fighting regalia, which realistically was just a bit too . . . uh . . . energetic . . . for me, if I was going to be brutally honest with myself about it. So although I was forced to relinquish that particular fantasy as a viable career option, I nonetheless frequently think about driving a fire truck with wistful longing. And while it's not the same thing, I have to say that driving a Fire Engine Red Jeep Wrangler perhaps comes a little bit close to driving a fire truck (okay, maybe only in my head . . . but it's my delusion and I'm sticking to it), thus further underscoring its special place within my heart.

The Parental Units pretty much despise the Jeep (i.e., "Certain death by rollover on highway"), my Colleagues occasionally regard me pityingly (i.e., "Poor Artichoke Heart, we're clearly not paying our junior faculty enough to buy a grown-up car"), and the Ladies can occasionally be induced to respond favorably to its red glossy sheen (until we're out on the interstate, that is, when they usually lean over and shout, "Geez, it's really, really loud!). To which my future response will now officially be a Mona Lisa smile, and to murmur, "Eat, Sleep, and Jeep."
Posted by Artichoke Heart | 1:15 PM |
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Books by Artichoke Heart
Beyond Heart Mountain
Year of the Snake

Poems by Artichoke Heart
Songs for a Rainy Season
Toothpick Warriors
Snake Wife
Happy Hour
Girl With A Bowl On Her Head

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