Commenter Of The Day: Urban Sprawl Edition

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Much ink has been spilled and many tears have been shed in the war of words between those who prefer the city life and those who prefer the idyllic banality of the suburbs. To the defenders of the urban lifestyle, the rise of suburbia is the cause of many of the social ills of the modern-day United States. To them, the sprawling, low-density, mostly-unplanned housing and commercial development that make up modern suburbs has been the cause of everything from obesity to global warming. On the other hand, is it such a bad thing to have a spacious house with a nice yard? Supporters of the suburban lifestyle like the wide-open spaces, calmness, and safety that a suburban existence can provide. They'll claim that it's better for a child to be raised in an environment without the inherent dangers of dense, loud, dirty urban cores. It's not always a popular position to take, but they've probably got a point, sort of, we guess. It's that kind of grudging acceptance of an unpopular viewpoint that we felt today when we read the manifesto jmagay wrote today in defense of his automotive appliance.

Sometimes - in the wee small hours I fantasize about a fabulous high
performance car, no not a car - a rolling sculpture! A statement of
virility, an avatar of cool. Then I wake up remembering all the pain and
suffering to ego and pocketbook such creations cause. And then in a moment
of lucidity I ask, "What is so bad about boring cars?" After all, a car is a
conveyance to move your body to another spot on the map. It can do it in
comfort and elegance, or in a cramped, noisy confine. I recall Fiats (twin
cam abominations) that wouldn't start if the humidity rose above 25%. Then
there were the air cooled VW's with icicles that would form on the inside of
the windshield in winter. Can't forget the wonderful Ford products over the
years, the '65 and '68 Mustangs (Yup, high performance ones) with barely
enough room for my 6'8" inch body lousy gas mileage and serious build
problems. Then there were a raft of Fairlanes, Sables, Tempo's, LTD's, etc.
all with maddening flaws, wiring that spontaneously combusted on lonely back
roads. Seat tracks ripping off of floor mounts. Unbalanceable front ends
with severe vibrations at cruising speeds. Mysteriously appearing rust
bubbles like mushrooms after a rain.
Then a few years ago a revelation - a Toyota Highlander came my way.
Jalopnik commenters have maligned this and other Toyota vehicles as boring.
Well - to the untrained eye, I guess that is true. No excitement like a
front wheel falling off a Peugeot 504 at 60 miles an hour (Really exciting!)
Nope, just a solid , well built car that gets reasonable mileage, looks fine
in my country driveway - and can claw its way up the same drive when glazed
with ice. Has only required the occasional oil change, the brake pad
replacement, wiper blades, etc. 105,000 boring miles with plenty of
stretch-out room, good sound system. Great cargo capacity for all our
shopping and hauling and trips to the recycling center.
So, I love to see folks pursuing the chimera of the car as sex objet or art
statement. The exhibit of Ralph Lauren's collection at the MFA was
brilliant. But reality intrudes, some of us must worship from afar, I'll be
very happy with my boring Toyota until it starts to fall apart - I'm
guessing around 250,000 miles in the year 2015 ish.

Faithful Jalopnik reader

Fiats, VWs, Fairlanes, Sables, Tempos, LTDs and Peugeots? No wonder you love your Highlander so much. Banality wins this round.