The behemoths of the parking lot
If you hear that there has been a rash of crime in Texas, signs at auto
dealers being vandalized, you'll know that I finally had it. I'm going to
paint out the left arm of the V and then move it over to cross the right
arm. V to X. Aha! These things are a menace. They're too large to see
through or around. If you're driving a real car, they can surround you and
cut off all your vision of the road.
Used to be that you'd miss an occasional road sign because there was some
truck in the right lane and it hid the sign at just the right (or wrong)
time. Now it's common to be boxed in by truck-sized opaque objects full of
soccer moms, kids, and groceries. SUXs are about half the vehicles sold
every year recently, and if you include pickup trucks, the larger the better
down heah, boy, these highway behemoths seem to be more than half of all the
cars on the road.
Used to be that you could sometimes see the road ahead through the windows
of the car ahead, even in heavy traffic. But no, now either the SUXs are
too tall and you can't see through the windows from the height of a normal
car, or all the other cars have black-as-night window tinting (q.v.) and you
can't see through them, anyway. Now all we reasonable folks suffer car
claustrophobia much of the time. The only way to fight it is to get Ford
Leviathan myself. Must . . . resist . . . temptation . . . .
Used to be that you could park a car in a space between two other cars. But
no, not now, not if the other vehicles are SUXs, because they're so wide
they barely fit between the lines of parking spaces, even on the rare
occasions that their drivers have the skill to put them between the lines or
vaguely parallel to the lines. There's no room between two of them to park
a real car. Motorcycles and Renault 2CVs only. By the way, in the land of
"We grow 'em Texas-size down here, y'all," that old saw sure doesn't hold
true for parking spaces. Vehicles, yes, all these !@#$%^&*() SUXs, but not
parking spaces, nosirreebob.
Used to be that you could walk between parked cars. No more. When SUXs
and pickups do manage to fit in the parking spaces, they don't leave much
room between them. And then there are those huge side mirrors. If they
park just so, they leave maybe a foot, foot and a half between the mirrors.
At work, for instance, the cars are parked in double rows. An aisle, two
rows of cars, another aisle, two more rows of cars, another aisle, and so
forth. To go from one aisle to the next, you have to walk between the cars.
Two rows, two pairs of cars. Or not-cars, which is where the problem comes
in. Saunter through the wrong space between vehicles, and you get whacked
by those side mirrors. It's like twisting through a herd of longhorns. How
hard is it to find a gap to walk through that is all cars? Don't even try.
If half the cars in the parking lot are SUXs or pickups, only a few of the
gaps have four cars. (One in sixteen, I think, and experience bears out
that rarity.) So drivers of the SUXs find their mirrors pointed at the moon
when they leave work, and maybe the doors get a few extra scratches from the
Used to be that a big car like my Pontiac Bonneville, known as The Belchfire
V8 to some friends, was a good bet in an accident, heavy enough and
containing enough real metal to help the passengers survive. But now in an
collision with one of these giant road hogs, we are sure to be, as Click and
Clack opine, "strictly closed casket material." Air bags won't help you
when Godzilla is a-stompin'.
One final note: a song during a break on Click & Clack (Car Talk on NPR, for
anyone who doesn't know about them, that is, anyone with taste) had the
Those SOBs in their SUVs,
Talkin' on their cell phones,
Drivin' with their knees.