Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Neuter Scooter

This past weekend was Spay Day. I was able to procure a reservation to bring in five ferals. However my normal transportation hook ups (the "Neuter Scooters") were either out of town or not able to help me. I have been desperate to do another Spay Day since a litter was born while I was in Minnesota and things can spiral out of control so fast. But I can literally only fit one cat in my Honda del Sol and it's hardly worth it to do a Spay Day for only one. So I took matters into my own hands and rented a makeshift Neuter Scooter.

Since Dean is an insurance adjuster, he gets a big discount on rental cars. The vehicle I chose to rent for shuttling stray cats all over Tampa* was a sport utility vehicle. A huge, gas guzzling, American-made monstrosity that screamed "Fuck you!" to the environment and everyone with which it shared the road**. Even though I decided against the optional "Support our Troops" magnetic ribbon and the Jesus fish, I felt dirty driving this thing home from the rental place.

However it was the next day, when I loaded up the trapped kitties and found that I had so much space, I could fit so many cats in here(!) that I began to see how soccer moms began their love affair with the SUV. The extra space was phenomenal, but more than that I could see beyond the back windshield of the car ahead of me! Not to mention the thing accelerated like a dream. I began to scan my brain for things I needed (more like wanted) to do that required 395 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. Wasn't there a huge mess of chopped up wood somewhere I needed to haul? How about towing a smaller, inferior car? Unfortunately I couldn't think of a single thing.

But that afternoon after I picked up the kitties and drove back home, realizing that I had used up 1/3 of a tank of gas driving a total of 50 miles I was jolted back to reality. Someday I may want to cart around kids, and pets and sporting equipment and groceries and a bunch of chopped up wood. But not in today's world.

* I may or may not legally be allowed to do this. The contract I signed included a clause that said I wouldn't let pets ride in the car. But by definition, feral cats aren't pets.

**I don't hate all SUVs, just the overly obnoxious ones. My mom and step dad have a Honda Highlander that gets 27 miles to the gallon. And it's not overwhelmingly big. But still big enough so that they can haul a bunch of cats around.


e.b. said...

I love the reference to the magnetic ribbons and Jesus Fish - how many of those do you see everyday!

Scott said...

I've been driving an Expedition well before I was told how bad a man I was for doing so. Once in a while I get the look of death from some white rastafarian, and my next vehicle will be more environment-conscious, but I can tell you from experience that I have loaded that bad-boy up to the point of bursting. I don't need bike racks, for instance, and there is always room for extra people and things.

Hot4Teacha said...

Nat, you are hilarious! My dad used to have a HUGE suburban; it was a tank, dude. Scared the crap out of me, the deer, the semi drivers. YIKES.

Glad that it worked out for spay day, though...snip, snip, baby!

Also, a Jesus Fish would've put me over the edge. I can hardly handle the "Proud Parent of..." stickers everywhere. What happened to "Baby on Board!" signs - now, those were funny!

magnetbabe said...

Let me explain my position a little better. EVERYONE had to have an SUV in the mid and late 90s and driving one this weekend made me understand why they caught on like wildfire. One of the issues I poked fun at and still don't understand is this: the space is great but does the average person really need all that power? No, they want to feel powerful. And the larger than necessary engine is what causes all the problems. I could easily haul kids and cats and groceries and whatever else I could possibly need in a 4 cylinder hybrid SUV and be happy. What really makes me angry is that after knowing what we know, the American car companies are still producing bloated gas guzzling SUVs and people are buying them without thinking twice. I wouldn't glare at you and your old school Expedition. But I will gladly glare at the driver of a Hummer using it as a status symbol.

lefty_grrrl said...

"old school Expedition"?

They've only been around since the late 90s, late enough to understand the concept of emissions.

And yes - large SUVs can be quite convenient. But how often do people really need them everyday? I think that people should just do what you've done here and rent one when they need it.

I have no problem with fuel efficient, low-emissions SUVs. I'd love to take a rocket launcher to some Hummers, though.

mom said...

thanks for clarifying that our suv has only 4 cylinders and gets good gas mileage. i still feel a little bit guilty about having it. but it's important to also note that we only have ONE vehicle and have had only one for many years. it's all give and take. isn't that what it's all about?

Jeni said...

Do you think perhaps the rental place, had they known or learned of your plans to tote the feral cats, might have relented that clause if you said it was a "charitable" or perhaps even "humanitarian" thing you were performing? Oh poo on that regulation anyway, the important thing is you did what needed to be done! Great job there

fermicat said...

Excellent post title!

I have a theory about men who buy Hummers, especially the reallyreallyreally bright colored ones: they are compensating for certain, shall we say, inadequacies in other areas. I can't hazard a guess as to why women buy them. I think they are the most ridiculous vehicles on the planet.

magnetbabe said...

The first Expedition was 1997. I was thinking 1995. I agree with you that we weren't completely naive 10 years ago, but my main point was that right now I'm not going to wag my fingers at the millions of people that bought them during the initial craze. I will gladly wag my fingers at the people who today are buying the worst of the offending automobiles. Global warming and addiction to oil have officially entered the mainstream.

Sorry I forgot to mention that you are a one vehicle family. Way cool. And you ROUTINELY load up the kitties to go to the lake.

Welcome! I prefer to think of my cause as "felinatarian" but thanks. ;) I really didn't want to embarrass my husband who does a lot of work with the local rental place. But one of the funniest things was when I broached the subject of wanting to rent a van to transport the kitties. He calmly looked at me and said, "May I suggest taking out the extra insurance?"

Thanks! That's my exact theory for male drivers of obnoxious vehicles. The funniest is when you look at them next to you on the road and just know it's true!

Scott said...

Somehow I didn't get the impression that you would glare at me, so I wasn't pointing any fingers your way. But I do get some attitude for it, and I would love to trade for a hybrid, but with my current finances it's just untenable.

lefty_grrrl said...