20 October 2009
Question O' The Day
(Photograph copyright 2009, all rights reserved)
Ok, this is another of the Great Imponderables, and I think it's generational.
When I was born (Yeah, back in the Dark Ages), my parents owned, a VW Bug. This was the original Bug. No seat belts, no airbags, eensy little wheels, three speed transmission, top speed of 50 mph, one of THOSE Bugs. Now, I was almost born in the front seat of that car. Apparently I was in a hurry.
We had that car until I was almost four years old. My sister was a year old at the time. It was replaced with (and guys, you'll know what I'm talking about) a Chevy Bel-Air station wagon in LeMans blue. By the time they got rid of THAT car, my brother was eight years old. It was faded (that was a shitty color for fading) and rusted almost to bits, but it ran and went to the son of the mechanic that had somehow kept it running for just over a decade and 300,000 miles.
My experience is not unusual. Most of the parents of my age cohort drove either sedans or station wagons, unless they were running a small business, in which case they drove vans. Kids sat in the back seats arguing on long car trips or in the very back of the wagons or vans concocting mischief that, if we'd followed through, would have resulted in our parents killing us long before adolescence.
I remember clearly plotting with a friend to dig a tunnel between the tool sheds in our respective yards. Never mind that we would have to traverse a large lot, dig under a paved alley, a garage and another house, we figured we could manage it. We even had a place for the dirt - there was a vacant lot across the street from her place. Then we found out there was a concrete pad under her tool shed, so we gave it up in favor of rigging our bedroom windows so we could sneak out at night and read by flashlight on lawn chairs in our side yard.
Ok. I'm rambling now. To the question.
We now live in a townhouse complex of 21 units. Young (ish) couples were the main buyers of these units and in the past five years, they've been reproducing like bunnies. It's hilarious - someone is always pregnant. Now in EVERY SINGLE CASE, almost as soon as the test comes back positive and the word spreads, a brand-new 3/4 ton truck appears in the couples' garage.
So what is that? Some will say that they want their kids "surrounded by steel", but car design today is advanced to the point where that is meaningless. Besides, I've seen SUVs after accidents and the front compartment is fine, but the back seat is smashed to shit. So that's not a real argument.
The other excuse is that there's a lot of stuff to haul. Ok. but that hasn't changed in the last 50 years. You still have to load the kid, the diaper bag, the stroller, etc. and that can be managed in a car with no real strain.
So tell me. Why is it that the mere act of making a seven or eight pound baby that entitles people to a truck that is designed to haul eight adults and their camping gear, as well as the dead deer they bring back from the hunting trip?