I know that sentiment doesn’t exactly make me unique. But I have a personal grudge against them. More specifically, I’m angry at many of the people who drive them.
Here's why: my eighty-year-old mother’s life changed forever this year, when a woman driving a luxury SUV blew through a stop sign (while yakking on her cell phone, of course). She barreled into the driver’s side of my mother’s compact little Subaru without ever slowing down.
My mother and her passenger, who had been driving back from tea, survived, but they were both injured. My mother fared the worst. After several months of care and physical therapy she recovered physically, but emotionally she will never be the same. She refuses to drive anymore. Practically overnight, she went from being an active, vibrant, confident senior citizen to a fearful shut-in. Even now, whenever she rides in a car, she’s terrified during the entire trip. That accident was the turning point that ushered in the moment in her life when she became truly old. Old, frail, and frightened.
To help Mom recover, one of my sisters moved into her house; the rest of us talked her into getting a lawyer. But we quickly discovered that the state of South Carolina has some incredibly antiquated laws regarding consumer protection. The most my mother could hope for, even with good legal representation, was repayment of the value of her car and the cost of her medical expenses. Nothing for pain and suffering. Nada. Not one red cent.
I’ve never met the woman who ran that stop sign, but I despise her. My mother will suffer for the rest of her life due to one nincompoop’s incompetence and inattention.
I’ve changed, too. I’ve become an enthusiastic advocate of strong consumer laws and litigation redress. I’ve even started to look favorably on the much-maligned trial lawyers—I think they've got their work cut out for them to change some laws in South Carolina. Hell, let’s cut right to the chase—get me John Edwards on the horn. He’ll know what to do.
I know my anger shouldn’t be directed exclusively at SUV drivers. Any driver can be dangerous and incompetent. But in California, anyway, SUV drivers are notorious for rudeness, lack of consideration, and poor driving and parking skills. They often drive like they own the road—especially the luxury SUV drivers. I’ve started glaring at them when they cram their behemoths into a compact parking space (at crooked angles), and when they cut me off in traffic. Pretty soon, I'll probably become one of those irascible note-leavers. I’ll shove little pieces of paper under SUV wipers with messages like, “How do you spell p-a-r-k, moron?”
Well, I hope they're enjoying their hundred-dollar tanks of gas, which is what it’s starting to cost in California. It's a small comfort that fuel costs are finally starting to kill the American consumer’s love affair with the humongo-mobile.
Already, SUV drivers around Los Angeles are trading in their vehicles for the current trend du jour, hybrids.
But at least against a Prius, moms will have a fighting chance. As for me, I'm thinking about attaching a pair of giant antlers to the front of my two-seater.