A Hummer Changes Everything

Test-driving the SUV for bad people

Sold! We drive into Arden Hills, past Bethel Seminary, and around Lake Johanna. It's a beautiful day, Norah Jones is cranked on the smooth jazz station, and everything is so perfectly controlled, every worldly contingency so remote, it's like I've died and gone to a heaven I've only read about in TV commercials. George points to a visor that runs the length of the sunroof and says, "This is so the wind doesn't mess up your hair."

Fifteen minutes after we started, on our way back to the lot, George has me drive into a ditch--to prove that, well, Hummers can drive through ditches. When we go by a rock the size of one of the truck's monster wheels, he mutters, defiantly, "We could actually drive over that rock."

As we pull into the lot, George tells me about going to Hummer school in South Bend, Indiana, and about the "Hummer Happening" he recently attended at the Trollhaugen ski resort in Wisconsin. "Hummers are like Harleys, they really are," he says. "Each one is an individual. There were 40 Hummers at this place, and if you think this looks big here now, imagine what 40 of these look like, climbing hills in Wisconsin."

James O'Brien

"Some environmental tree huggers have damaged some Hummers," says George as we walk back into the showroom. "But Hummer [school] teaches us to tread softly on the environment. Hummers got tons of torque and tread, but don't tear up the terrain."

Back at his desk, George gives me his card, a sales brochure, and a poster. I browse through the showroom one more time, and say goodbye to Scott, who is now wiping the particulate matter from a yellow specimen. I walk out to the lot and get in my 12-year-old Toyota. The passenger-side door doesn't work, and neither does the radio, so I drive in silence save for the sound of the puttering engine below. I get on the freeway, crack the window, and wonder why on earth anyone would want a car that doesn't let you feel the wind in your hair.

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