Land Yacht

Posted: January 3, 2012 by sneakerporndiaries in Uncategorized

I’ve been driving an SUV for quite a long time. I’ve had moments of driving smaller vehicles (i.e. the Mazda RX7 that Don Arnold left a fat note on the dashboard of titled “This Car Needs” – the tires were just a tad out-of-round [ahem]; or the little green Geo Ruben and Angela John loaned me several years ago when the engine on my teal Jeep Cherokee Sport blew…to this day I think they secretly watch videos of me getting in and out of that car!). But, for the most part I’ve become very accustomed to driving a Grand Cherokee.

Until this morning at slightly past seven. I came down the stairs from my flat and immediately noticed the Jeep didn’t sound right (I live in Michigan, I have a car starter…and yes, I use it all year long). You know – that sound which indicates something is “off” but you can’t describe it. You just “know”. So I put my lunchbox and purse in, tuck my uber big coffee tumbler into a safe spot, get into the front seat, verify the radio is off, shut the door, put on the seat belt, slide the gearshift from P to R and about had heart failure right there in the morning dark by myself in 32 degree weather.


I put the stupid thing back in park, waited a second, then put it back in reverse. Same awful whirring noise comes from somewhere inside the engine compartment. What I really heard was, “Whirrr-cha-ching….whirrr-cha-ching….whirrr-cha-ching”. I throw it back into park, rev the engine as if magically that will be the ultimate resolution….aaaand not a stinking thing changed.

Holding my breath, I back up – praying nothing bad happens over the next twenty feet or so. Then I head to work. And of course, I hear E V E R Y T H I N G you can possibly hear in a car that was built in 1996 over the course of the next 3.5 miles.

It gets better. At lunch I decided to run back home to check my emergency fund booklet and the engine CLACKS really fast.

Side note: I had called one customer to find out if he knew of anyone selling another Jeep. When I told him about the clacking he said, “That’s not good”. Before I could stop myself I blurted out (quite loudly), “Ya THINK??”

On the suggestion of a coworker I called another customer of ours who has a used car lot, deals with auctions, and whatnot. I explained the situation and why I wasn’t willing to replace an engine or transmission. I’ve had the Jeep for four or five years now, and it’s done me good. But I have a limit on how far I’ll go with repairs. Seems when I get the inkling to look for a different vehicle, something BREAKS!

Anyways, I explained to my customer I wasn’t in a position to be picky. What I want is the fifty-five thousand dollar Grand Cherokee that came out this year. What I need is reliable transportation…but I really don’t want to drive a small car (ask me sometime about Mom’s Focus and the teenager who stole her daddy’s car who slammed into us at Home Depot in Lincoln Park). So our customer tells me he’s got a line on a heck of a deal on a very clean car: 97 Grand Marquis. He’s on his way to the warehouse, he’ll let me drive his since it’s pretty much the same. He was very excited in that sales personey kind of way.

All I kept thinking was…you got it: Land Yacht.

The pictures I found online weren’t very encouraging. Everyone I know drives little cars, or cool SUV’s, nobody drives a land yacht (well, Leslie was the exception…I test drove her land yacht in Florida…but it was a collectible!). I mention this to my boss, who makes a remarkable comparison between the Grand Marquis and an old, white guy smoking cigars into retirement.

So when our customer shows up, I am nice and polite. I get my coat and we go out front. He opens the door for me and hands me the key, then moves a little button and the seat slides back (I have long legs…and again…love my legs!). I get in, he hops into the passenger seat.

Okay…so having my rump hugged by this leather seat was kind of…nice. Then I saw the hood of the car…the long, long hood of the car. How the heck am I ever going to park this thing? The customer is telling me all about the car, as I move the shifter down into reverse and back out of the parking space. I was just going to go for a romp around the parking lot. But for a second I had this horrible thought of not being able to turn the car. It’s freaking HUGE! Over two feet longer than the Grand Cherokee I drive, and almost a foot wider.

And those who remember my dumber drunk days are remembering the pretty Ford F150 and Traci backing into Jill’s mom’s car…and tearing the rear corner panel off Jenny’s car with my bumper…and taking out the fence at the condo complex.

Now, I’m driving a land yacht.

I did fine. Nobody died, I put it back where I found it.

It was a freaking GREAT ride!

Oh Em Gee Wally! It was totally awesome. Like riding a cloud. Riding a sled down butter. It was so cool! It sold itself.

So before the week is up, I’ll be the owner of my very own personal Land Yacht. I should probably put up fliers to warn the neighbors…

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