Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …
We’ve been the proud owners of a 2021 Ford Ranger pick-up for several months now.
I joke that the reason we picked it is due to the color.
Ford calls it “Cyber Orange”.
With a magnetic sign or two, I could either transport kids to and from school or work for the Koorsen Compay.
It’s really easy to spot in a parking lot since it practically glows in the dark.
No longer do I have to make note of where I park.
It’s also a 4-door model so I can transport other folks if need be.
It also cost more than our first house.
But, those front seat heaters are pretty nice on cold winter mornings and the individual controls for heat and air are pretty nice.
This is out 2nd Ranger pick up.
We bought our first one when we came to Indiana in 1994.
It was the first truck we ever owned.
Years of home improvement projects and yard work in Ohio had to be accomplished with a van or sometimes a trailer.
By the time the original truck had started for the last time, it had helped with accomplishing numerous projects at our house as well as the kids over the years.
That truck was “rode hard and put away wet” in its’ last few years.
Nah, it crapped out prior to 2010.
The heater was the sun coming through the windows in those last few years.
Sometimes the radio would work.
But the body was in fine shape and the bed didn’t show as much wear as I thought it would after hauling numerous loads of mulch, compost, lumber, gravel and such.
After having that first Ranger, we don’t know how we managed to do without one for the first 25 years we were married.
This one is loaded with all sorts of safety features.
I’m old enough to remember vehicles with seat belts, much less harnesses.
These new set ups require minimal effort to engage.
However, if you’re hell-bent on flying through the windshield, you’ll be chimed and visually reminded until the cows come home…or you disconnect the system.
If I’m in a crash, there are all sorts of airbags set to deploy and keep me safe.
No longer does my Dad have to extend his right arm to keep my from flying forward.
All these little bells and whistles.
And frankly, many of them annoy me.
Pulling into or out of the garage, I have all sorts of audible bells that indicate a wall or another vehicle is near.
As I approach the front of the garage, it chirps as I get closer to that wall.
Heaven forbid I should put anything in the backseat because whenever I stop, I get a display that advises me to check for something or someone back there.
I know why we have these “reminders” we’ve never left anyone or any pet alone in a vehicle ever.
I get alerted if I just happened to open the back door to check for something before leaving.
High beams that automatically dim when another vehicle approaches is neat but I’d much rather have a device that turns on a power spotlight aimed at the idiot riding my back bumper with his brights on.
I even get chimes and displays if my truck thinks my driving alertness is becoming impaired.
It’s like a computerized wife.
But instead of saying, “Don’t you think you ought to slow down, honey?” I hear chimes and a message that tells me to take a break.
I make my wife crazy with the fuel indicator.
It chimes and messages as soon as I have enough gas to travel just 50 more miles.
Then it speaks up and reminds me visually at 25 miles.
I like seeing how close I can get to empty on occasion.
There’s a button on the steering column that I can activate to provide me all sorts of information.
But, after I’ve checked my oil life or tire pressure, getting back to the speedometer can make even Albert Einstein wrinkle his brow.
God bless the auto manufacturers but those manuals are not the easiest reads.
When I see “menu” and “sub-menu” messages, my brain goes into “scrambled mode” and I’m just pushing and flipping.
When I finally get to a display that says “Eating options for Kazakhstan”, I know I’ve ventured down an automotive “rabbit hole”.
I get it.
These consumer safety folks are gearing everything to those who don’t have the sense to come in from out of the rain.
This new truck has all those bells and whistles and then some.
I could be quite happy with a lot less but since this unit came that way, I figured, “Ah, what the heck!”
As long as I can drop the tailgate, haul some goodies and get to and from work, I’ll be fine.
Just quit telling me to check the backseat.