This past weekend my wife and I broke down and traded in her cool little car for a big ol’ SUV with a third-row seat. We’ve got a couple of grandkids now, and we needed a better place to transport them than the luggage rack, which tends to make police all talkative and nosy at traffic stops.
It’s not a new car, but it’s new to us. It comes with all kinds of fancy technology that my wife is learning how to use because she’s the primary driver. I’ll learn no more than I have to — mainly how to adjust the “dual-zone” air-conditioning so that it blows 33-degree air into my face at the highest speed possible. After a long trip, I like to have frozen eyelashes.
I’ll let her figure out all the blind-spot warnings, voice-calling, navigation shortcuts, lane keep assistance, brake warnings, flux capacitor and what-not. Quite frankly, I prefer my 2011 pickup truck with its utter simplicity.
I was fortunate to buy my extremely base model pickup back in 2011 before the auto world turned into “Star Trek.” I don’t even know what technology was available back then because when the salesman asked what options I wanted in a truck, I told him, “Four tires and a steering wheel.”
Still, my truck has options I didn’t ask for like cruise control and power windows. I know I’m getting older, but I can still roll down a window and press the accelerator without pulling a hamstring.
It doesn’t have hands-free technology, which means I may or may not have broken some Georgia laws in the past couple of years, including texting “K” while driving and keeping my donkey in a bathtub (which, yes, is illegal in Georgia, and that’s why I now ride my donkey, Lester, around in the back of my pickup, which has a bumper sticker that reads “Haulin’ a$$.”).
I recently was given some suction-cup contraption that allows me to see my smartphone without using my hands. That’s important when I’m driving so that I can make a call on the speaker, see GPS directions or show videos to Lester, who watches through the back window. (He mainly watches the news and thinks we’re all idiots.)
I worry that the more high-tech stuff you’ve got in your vehicle, the more can go wrong, malfunction or quit working. I like to keep things as simple as possible. When you think of me, think simple. That’s why I’ll probably keep my truck another 40 years, or about 40 years longer than my wife wants me to.
She thinks that just because my truck has 160,000 miles, a few scratches and several county mounties looking for it over an alleged donkey-napping (I swear Lester was hitchhiking), I should trade it in for a fancy new truck. No way. I like my current payment of $0, and I’m not interested in any truck where I can push a button and let it go mud-bogging without me.
I love my old truck, even though I don’t baby it like my wife does her cars. I wash it about once a year, but mostly I let Mother Nature take care of that with rain. I do, however, take very good care of its engine and tires and such because I want it to keep rolling for years to come, no matter how much dirt collects on it.
Besides, I don’t need to show off in my truck. I don’t need giant tires to make people wonder what I’m compensating for. I don’t need a bass-thumping stereo system that screams to everyone else, “My mommy didn’t love me enough and I need attention. Please notice me!” I just need a truck that gets me from point A to point B and is capable of hauling some building materials, a couple of kayaks, two bikes and a very large cooler of ice on occasion.
Oh, and a donkey — although Lester hasn’t quite mastered the art of kayaking. He is quite the cyclist, though.