Tuesday, December 19, 2006

From a penthouse to a studio apartment

I had no idea, although one would have thought I was smarter than this. But when I bought a new vehicle this past week to replace my 12-year-old Suburban, I bought smaller, a Chevy Trailblazer, a sort of glorified stationwagon. It's cute, seats five, has storage in the back, handles like a dream and comes with all these little extras I didn't know anything about, like OnStar and XM radio. Heated seats. Side-curtain airbags. Individual a/c controls.

NO ROOM for the trappings of my Suburban life.

I have driven a van-type vehicle for 20 years, starting with a Safari minivan in 1985. There's lots of room for crap in those. Then an 88 Suburban. Ditto. Then my 95. My "car" had become my extra living space. Maps, CDs, travel kleenex, pens, playing cards, duct tape, battery chargers, napkins from every fast-food joint frequented. So when I started repositioning my goods in my new vehicle, I was in for a rude awakening.

For starters, there's no room under the seats in the front, maybe a little in the back. There goes the hiding place for my CD bundles and my umbrella. Where's my portable CB-radio to go? And what, by the way, has happened to my rechargeable flashlight? It was not in the Suburban. Hmmm. The argument could be made that with XM and OnStar, I haven't a need of CD and CB. Well, one never knows what one may need.

Towels for spills. Maps of all the adjacent counties and towns. (I know, Mapquest. Sorry, Mapquest didn't exist when I started collecting these.) More pens and paper, paperclips and safety pins.

But some things I'm not sorry to see go. The heavy-duty chain and hook. Have I been toting that around since our last trip to Colorado? No wonder my gas mileage sucks. What about the greasy flares, the set of screwdrivers longer than my arm? Or, the first aid kit that looks like a refugee from WWI? There may need to be some replacing.

So I have modified my vehicle lifestyle. I pared down the CDs to the 6 that will fit in the changer while I learn what my options are on XM. The big towels are tucked in the back with the golf umbrella and the emergency road kit is safe in its new home.

But I've begun collecting napkins again.

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