Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Of Gradations and Off Road Vehicles

Two seemingly unrelated events happened earlier this summer.  My daughter graduated high school and a neighbor friend bought a Jeep.  I know, I know, these things go together like fish and bicycles (shout out to Gloria Steinem!), or at the very least like spoiled children and graduation presents.  However I can assure you my daughter did not get a Jeep as a graduation present.  She already has a car that should last her a while yet.  Besides, her graduation present is all expenses paid four year college education.  And by all I mean “all” where the quotes can mean pretty much anything.  And by four I mean 4.  None the less, Jeeps and graduations share something.

When I graduated high school, back in the previous century, it seemed like a simpler affair.  I showed up for the last day of school, ate some school cafeteria made breakfast with the rest of the senior class, went to graduation practice, then did the real thing later that night.  Not much happened in the days leading up to The day.  There is a fair bit more pomp and circumstance surrounding the modern high school graduation and rightfully so.  It’s a hell of a lot harder to graduate today, especially at the level expected in my household. 

With pomp and circumstance come awards and ceremonies and ceremonies with awards.  And with all that come speeches.  To a person, valedictorian, pastor, the girl who gave multiple speeches just because she was good at it, all of them spoke about passion.  Seriously.  All of them.   It was like some kind of graduation speech topic collusion. I think I must have heard at least half a dozen people speak at various functions and they all implored, almost pleading at times, the class of 2015 to follow their passion.  I don’t know how many of the 17 and 18 year old kids listening in the audience really got it, but man, I sure left inspired.  Hearing those speeches made me want to go to work and be better at what I do.  It made me want to go out into the garage in the summer heat, buckle down and finish the kit car. (I’m working on it, I swear.  Stop pressuring me with your questions of “when”.  Sheesh)

Jeeps are about passion too.  I mean they aren’t my passion. I like cars.  Cars that go fast, or at least give the feeling of going fast (fast is relative and relatively fast probably warrants its own column).  Or boulevard cruisers, I have thing for those too.  And I’ve recently found myself looking at late 60’s and early 70’s pickups because hey, sometimes you need a truck and why not have a make it a cool truck. But Jeeps, they don’t do it for me.  And that’s okay.  MK I GTis, B13 Sentra SE-Rs, Datsun 510s and taking apart a perfectly good car that could be used as a fun weekend toy only slowly put it back together over what will likely be a period of two years isn’t for everyone either.  And that’s the point.  All things aren’t for all people.  

My neighbor friends love their Jeep.  Lots of people love their Jeeps.  There’s this whole Jeep subculture that exists out there.  They get together and do Jeep stuff.  Which is good.  Jeep people should do Jeep stuff. I’ll even come along and participate just to see what it’s all about, well, that’s assuming I ever sort out the wiring harness on the kit car.  First things first.