The squat blonde lady from Scotland said, "I just feel much safer in my Explorer, you know." She swung her Birkenstock shod feet as she waited in my office for the porter to finish washing her car. An unmanned shopping cart completed a kamikaze mission on her quarter panel a week ago. "I feel like king of the road." Upon seeing the Scotland flag emblazoned on her license plate, Steve, one of our painters, stated dead pan that he would not paint the "fucking Scot bitch's SUV." This, coming from an Englishman whose girlfriend recently leased a member of the 1999 Mustang's 35th Anniversary series and proudly slapped a Great Britain sticker on the rear windshield. I didn't want to repair her Explorer either, but I had different reasons.

I had acquired a 92 Geo Metro through some underhanded deeds, part of which involved slapping its former owner with twice the NADA book value for the vehicle in storage fees. It had been rusting quietly in our lot for almost a year, so while storage fees in the body shop business is legal in itself, "forcing" her to surrender her title in exchange is pushing it. Still, by owning such a small and worthless car in an age of Freudian SUV competition, I am forced to approach sharing the road with anxiety and overall paranoia. My attitude could be a symptom of what I call the Suburban Unawares Virus.

Though my devotion is not to Ford, my employment forces me to choose between a variety of evils. I write estimates for body repair for Ford. As the demand for bigger and taller 90's station wagons increases, so must my services be available in larger and more elaborate quantities. At this time, I would like to insert my gratitude for all the business we've received that in all ways could have been easily avoided if the pilots in these above ground submarines used a grain of common sense.

Two popular SUV makers are gearing up for some mild competition with the proposed unveiling of Ford's answer to the Suburban, the Ford Excursion (I thought the title Subdivision would be more fitting, but yuppies need that illusion of adventure), which is supposed to be 16 inches longer than its Chevy counterpart. On my way to and from the bus stop, I've noticed that almost every auto brand has an SUV on the road. From the gossip I've heard at work, though, it seems Ford and Chevy are the biggest bullies on the block. And I am doomed to fix them all.

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