2/3/14

Black Lexus SUV . . .

When I first moved to Wichita 6 1/2 years ago it seemed like there was ONE car that was "allllllllllllllllllllllllllll (deep gasp) lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll(I am feeling lightheaded)llllllll the rage" - a gold Lexus SUV. I had two colleagues that each had one and they seemed everywhere and seemed to be the norm. This was sort of jarring to me having come from the Northeast where there didn't seem to be an average vehicle. This is not a criticism of Wichita - simply an observation. My world amateur sociologist ranking tells me that the disparity of cars "there" vs. "here" was probably indicative of nothing and there is clearly no statistical evidence to back up this claim anywhere.

Anywho . . . fast forward to late-2013 and early-2014 and it seems, Wichita, that your tastes have changed. Yep. You've gone from a gold Lexus SUV to a black Lexus SUV. I'm not kidding, fellow Wichi-Wichers . . . look out there right now! Check your office parking lot. Look on Rock Road. Consult Kellogg. You'll see an average of 1:13.9 cars to be a black, Lexus SUV (that is a real statistic - I once sat and counted groups of 20 cars driving by me for 10 full sets and that was the frequency).

The question becomes WHY?! A  new, black Lexus SUV will cost you a boatload (street parlance for $40,000 - $55,000) of cash. You can buy a home in Wichita for $119,000 (thanks, Zillow). You can buy a toothbrush in Wichita for $2.42 (or get them for "free" by visiting the dentist). Sure, sure . . . they are lovely cars. I've never actually been in one but the photos on the web and the pristine Ugg boots of their owners imply a clean, safe, mahogany finished ride with seat warmers below the buttery-leather a cow was happy to give its life for. There are videos on YouTube that show the car adjusting to the person sitting in the seat based on body weight and owner preferences. Those LED headlights look sharp - I'm not going to lie about that. I have ZIPPY problem with people buying a car that makes them happy (my beloved vehicle makes me very happy and I paid a price that might seem high for it (comparably)).

So are we all trying to fit in? Is this the return of IBM's "Identical Blue Men" salesforce? Is the notion of personal choice being skipped for what society might determine the preferred choice?  Or are these cars this. damned. awesome? Do we all just want to drive what the Joneses drive? Is it that we want premium luxury and we're finally at a place in our lives where we can and will afford it? Is my brain just somehow pre-disposed to see these things on the road and, in reality, silver Mercedes SUVs are actually the norm? What ever happened to the Mini  Cooper boom, anyway? I'm digressing.

Here is the point . . . There is something to be said about what we drive and what it says about us - I just have no idea what the heck it says or what it means.

Drive safely, black Lexus SUV owners (and all the other ships at sea).