Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Shopping for a fortress on wheels
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Mar 5, 2018
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I liked my smaller car that ran on air and tofu, but five grandkids dictated the size of vehicle Lanny Joe and I needed. An SUV with third-row seating was the ticket, but I wasn’t eager to stuff a 100-dollar bill into the gas tank on fill-up day. 

Back in the day, I didn’t mind pumping my own gas but that was when instructions were simpler: Remove nozzle, lift handle, pump gas, heed the siren song of the attractively displayed chocolate cream horns at the cash register, and pay the man. Today’s pumps are just so irritating, carrying on little conversations on a screen: “Hi. Have a nice day. Do you wish to pay with a credit or debit card? Cash? What are you, some kind of freak? If you used the pay-at-the-pump card, you could just drive away without feeling forced to buy that Slurpee the size of a thirty-gallon trash can, which, between you and me, it’s painfully obvious you don’t need.” 

I despise this giant leap forward in womankind that has us pumping our own gas. Some gas pumps are so slow it’s as if they’re metamorphosed into Neanderthals with uncooperative prostates. While you fume about this, the crawl on the pump is blinking: “Pay inside now! And don’t forget the jerky!” 

Back to the SUV topic. One of the reasons I wanted an SUV, besides its feature of being a handy extension of my handbag, is that SUVs are sturdy and dependable. To tell you the truth, car maintenance isn’t a priority for me. Sure, I could spend the money for an oil change or a set of tires, but a new Kitchen-Aid and a pedicure are just so much more fun! It’s more than that---I want to sit at eye level with bank tellers, pharmacy techs, and fast-food cashiers.   I’m tired of sitting lower than the drive-in window at Jack-in-the-Something and having packets of ketchup dropped into my blouse. 

I hear there’s a national movement among la-di-da “ethics experts” to expose SUV owners as rotten, selfish, dangerous, polluting road hogs. As one explained it, “If you buy an SUV, you’re buying your safety at the expense of someone else’s.” And your point would be? With the mid-size car I owned then, if I got in an accident with an SUV Sherman tank, I’d end up in the hospital where I’d say, “Soon’s I get outta this bed and find my legs, I’m gonna get me a Suburban. Loaded.” 

Why should I apologize for buying the safest family vehicle I honestly could not afford? It’s the American way. Most of the arguments against SUVs come from environmentalists because, well, the emission control standards are, uh, missing. This is sad indeed, but what can I tell you? 

So are Lanny’s.