Nfld. & Labrador·Point of View

I was never a car guy, but here's why I fell in love with one

I may stand about 4'8" but I feel like I'm towering over traffic when I'm in this 4x4, writes Paul David Power.

There's something about riding high in a 4x4 when you were always the shortest guy in class

Paul David Power, who relies on his crutches for everyday accessibility on the street, loves what having a tall 4x4 offers on the road. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

I'm in love. With a machine.

There. I've said it.

The object of my affection? My beautiful deep blue 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport.

Let's get one thing clear: I'm not a car guy.

I have no idea how many cylinders my long-term partner has. I don't know what the hell might be wrong when I hear a knocking under the hood — chances are I'll just turn the radio up to solve the problem. As far as day-to-day self maintenance? Mr. Lube is my buddy.

Before you judge — I'm not your typical muscle car Romeo.

You know the type? Those drivers with a souped-up dual exhaust with enough horse power to speed over the parkway in record time while breaking the sound barrier.

Nope. I'm a big believer in those speed limit signs, driving according to the weather, and knowing pedestrians have the right away.

My love affair is all about how good my Jeep makes me feel. And it's not just about those pleasing vibrations under my seat when in four-wheel drive on a rocky road.

Paul David Power says when he climbed into the drivers’ seat for the first time, the view was 'pretty nice.' (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Hopping down out of my Jeep, I'm just an ordinary guy.

Up through school I wasn't a particularly big guy. In fact, I remained the shortest guy in my class all the way to graduation, and today measure about 4'8".

I've been envious of height, which offers instant status based entirely on the luck of your genes.

You don't have to do anything for people to look up to you. Seeing a concert through the crowd, reaching the top shelf, changing a light bulb — life is good when you live it up above.

Being a somewhat modest smaller guy, I never really thought too much about what I drove.

Something to get me from Point A to Point B was usually my requirement when choosing a car.

It's why I drove a stylish Hyundai Accent, actually two, for over 12 years. A reliable – not particularly memorable – low-to-the-ground means of transportation.

Low to the ground ... let's stick to the familiar.  

But then my whole world changed ...  

In 2011 my Hyundai finally bit the dust and I started shopping around for my next reliable, sensible car. And that's when I met my new love. 

She was parked in a row of other equally stylish vehicles of the same model, but she was the only blue one.

It wasn't just any blue. It was a shimmering midnight blue only found in those silhouette photos of mountain ranges.

The black visors over the headlights were the perfect accent, and at a slightly downturned angle, seemed to wink. She called to me. Beckoned me. Seduced me. I couldn't deny it. It was love at first sight.

Immediately all those images you see on the commercials of splashing through muddy terrain, tittering over logs, climbing over rocks and ending up on a mountain peak overlooking the rest of the world raced through my mind. Could this be me? Could I take my place on the top of that mountain?

No. I'm more of a Hyundai kinda guy.

But any doubts faded away when I sat in that drivers' seat for the first time.

Let me rephrase that — when I climbed into that drivers' seat for the first time. The view is pretty nice from up here.

An alternative universe opened up with one test drive. The road was a whole new adventure. An adventure a Hyundai Accent would never experience. Sorry Hyundai Accent; it's not me, it's you.

Everyone always says you can't buy love, but I have learned you can certainly lease it.

Potholes, construction, rocky roads – not a problem – this is a Jeep. I towered over cars to the left and right of me. Other cars seemed to move to the side to make way for road royalty.

I could feel the respect. The pilot was hovering above looking down at all the other cars was obviously a serious driver.

Respect, people! Purchase made.

My love affair has only intensified through the years. I've discovered no matter your background, your height, your acne — people think Jeeps are cool and so are the people who drive them.

I'm not making this up.

Thumbs up in drive-thrus, admiration from convenience store clerks who watch me drive up, honks on horns from fellow Jeep drivers. It's not a car — it's a status.

A status that also merges over to road navigation

It's been a rough winter. But, winter driving in Newfoundland? Not a problem for this guy.

The Green Lantern may have had his ring — but I have something better. Four-wheel drive.

Crappy snow clearing, lanes that seem impassable, four feet of slush, evil plow man driveway dump? No problems here! Try to splash me? Ha! You might reach my headlights.

In stormy weather, it's a time to embrace the bumps, laugh while plowing through snow drifts and gasp in my awesomeness as me and my Jeep climb over packed ice. Bring it on Newfoundland winter!

Yes, I'm not the tallest guy, and I'm not confrontational. I take the Canadian "I'm sorry" practice to the next level.

Power says with one test drive behind the wheel of his four-wheel drive, the road was a whole new adventure. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

If a bar fight ever broke out I'd be the guy hiding under the table. And when it comes to socializing — you'll find me by the wall, standing by myself, nervously holding my Coors Light.

But with my vehicle, my long-term partner, I am the master of my stormy surroundings.

I'm cool, just ask the drive-thru guy. I'm powerful, just check out my unwavering success rate stats of climbing downtown snow covered impassable mountains — a.k.a. our roads.

I'm tall – passing and observing those drivers below as they look up at this 4'8" pilot. By the way, lower to the ground drivers, hiding your phone as you text under the sight line of your dash isn't fooling this guy. I'm unstoppable.

Everyone always says you can't buy love, but I have learned you can certainly lease it. 

All within the appropriate speed limit and cautious winter driving practices, of course, Officer.

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About the Author

Paul David Power

Contributor

Paul David Power is an award-winning playwright, writer, actor, producer and director. He lives in St. John's.