By Jimmy Jones, USDR Contributor
I haven’t yet figured out what a child does to a family; one year we are thinking, “let’s get a Mini, sure we can fit a kid and stroller in it.” Yesterday I was wondering if my Lincoln Navigator was big enough for a trip to a sale for kids’ clothes and toys. Which got me to thinking about… cars? Yes, of course.
I think it is the stuff that we Americans hoard that has created this odd obsession with ‘bigger is better,’ not the fact that we were enjoying super cheap fuel prices for years and years like the media experts tell us. I think about this from time to time. When my wife and I go on European trips, we drive cars that are pint-sized compared to most of the small car offerings here in the States, and we get along quite well. Our family members that are scattered around the globe also get along just fine with small, efficient autos that carry all necessary things needed for their lives with ease. Take the last time my wife and I were in Italy; we drove a good portion of the country in a Nissan Micra diesel. It held us and our months’ worth of luggage quite well. In the middle of the trip we picked my mom up in Rome, and it held her two weeks’ of luggage in addition to our luggage with some effort, but we all were comfortable in our seats, and the car wasn’t under some sort of burden lugging us around the Tuscan mountains or the coastal winding roads. But put that car, which is smaller by a bit than a Chevrolet Sonic or Ford Fiesta, on the roads here in the USA and we Americans would be scared out of our minds when we look out of our window to see semi-truck lug nuts spinning at our eye level. What about our stuff? We have to pack our bag, our golf clubs; maybe stop off at the mall and who knows what we’ll end up with…there may be a sale on recliners for Pete’s sake!
Perhaps higher gas prices will make us turn to a simpler way of life. Yesterday was a grand day for my daughter. Her mother purchased toys and clothes that will be there for her learning, development, and enjoyment. My Lincoln was stuffed to the gills. I am wondering if I lived in Romania or Italy, would I have just built my daughter something to take the place of all of this plastic fun she is getting. I don’t know really.
What is for certain, we Americans go big all of the time. We are proud of going big regardless of what it is. We feel like we must always show the world we have gotten this far and, we will keep on keeping on despite what anyone thinks. Sort of makes me excited for this year’s Olympic Games, you know.
As I was driving my happy, sleeping baby and my wife with the ‘I went shopping’ smile home, I realized that even though it’s stuff; I have the room for it, and a Nissan Micra inside of my comfortable, huge vehicle that only an American can smile proudly about driving. And I am fine with that.
Be proud America. We are all we’ve got.