My new dream car is the humble owner-type jeep. I am not sure if this is a step up, or down, from my previous dream vehicles: the Kia Pride and the Toyota Tamaraw FX.
It is certainly several degrees less cool than the car I was promised for my sophomore year in college: a Volkswagen Beetle bought with the savings we would have gotten from my going to U.P. instead of Ateneo. I never got it, and will always mildly resent my parents for not following through on that. Even extending my second year in college to what would be more aptly called a sophomore period did not work. Maybe it was precisely because of that that I didn’t get that Beetle.*
I liked the Pride and the Tamaraw for the same reason I want to drive an owner-type jeep. There is very little to say about them except that they are. There is nothing in a Pride or a Tamaraw that serves no purpose, and that purpose is to bring someone somewhere. You can–and people have–dress them up, but that would only call attention to what they lack. (ie modern styling, a regard for beauty, etc)
The same can be said of the owner-type jeep. It is essentially an ugly box with an engine and wheels and, if you are lucky, air-conditioning and a basic radio. I would be fine without the air-conditioning and the radio, truth be told. For a few years, I drove a beat-up old pickup truck that had neither and that was all right. (For a time, it did not have proper brakes and that was all right too, at least in the sense that I was able to bring it to Batangas and back without incident.)
There’s a certain beauty in that, in things stripped to the bare essentials, that appeals to me. There are no lies to an owner-type jeep. Although it offers little in the way of comfort or style, it makes no promises either. Not for itself, and certainly not on behalf of its driver.
Related: The Once and Future King, a feature on jeepneys I wrote for California-based, and apparently defunct, magazine Genuine Pinoy.
*There was a story our high school teacher used to tell at reflection period about a kid who asked for a car but was given a Bible instead. Years of resentment and youthful rebellion later, he found a car key taped to the first page of the Bible. I always felt this was a stupid story, and, besides, my parents didn’t give me a Bible either.**
**I realize that as a grown-ass man, I could probably just buy myself a Beetle. And a Bible.