When I first discovered the Explorer it was in my Spanish class during a video group project presentation we were doing. One group accidentally left in a part when they were cruising around in their Eddie Bauer Explorer singing along with the Spice Girls, What you Want. ::chills:: Ewwww. I thought it was cheesy then when the song was at it’s height and it still annoys me to this day.
It was a cute car but it just seemed too trendy for my liking. I already was starting my love affair with Honda and Toyota. About this exact time my husband, who I didn’t know, was dreaming of owning an Eddie Bauer Explorer, along with a long list of other cars that he would so love to own. My husband has been a car guy from birth, honest.
I had a good friend that I knew since I was 13 that bought an Explorer after we graduated from culinary school. She was a personal chef for a family in town and had to do a lot of driving as they had a gourmet pallet and it was her job to keep them happy. She would drive all over town to get certain items from specialty stores as it was only the best of the best for this family. One day she got on the free way and didn’t see the car in her blind spot till it was too late. While trying to avoid hitting the other car she spun out of control and rolled the Explorer. She was hurt but not terribly hurt. I then was petrified of the vehicle.
By this time I was dating my now husband. I knew he wanted to own a Explorer one day. I saw the stats on the news, heard news story after news story about the vehicle being prone to roll overs and how the pillars in the car weren’t as strong as they used to be. Every time the car came up in conversation I would get knots in my stomach and would kindly remind him that he already had two cars and I had my own car. Why on earth would we want a fourth car? The topic would be dropped.
Three years later the topic came up again, by then we were married and my husband was in the process of selling his only car. To be honest the car was too small for my husband, when he hit 45mph in that thing his head would bounce against the roof and it was driving both of us nuts. He promised that he would be safe in the Explorer, that he would lower it and brought me so many articles about how if you were to drop it by 1 and 3/8” it would be a whole lot safer. Some of these articles were written by professional drivers and the lowered Explorer was able to compete with some coupe cars in handling. I finally gave my blessing for him to buy the Explorer.
It was a great car, I even drove it for a while as I was trying to learn how to drive my new to me car which is a stick. It had great pick up, fantastic storage space. When I was pregnant and was too big to drive my manual car I drove the Explorer as I didn’t have to be too close to the steering wheel. We brought our baby home in that car.
My husband had made many modifications that made me feel more comfortable with us driving the Explorer on the regular. The suspension was more responsive, the brakes were incredible, the audio system was AMAZING. I began to trust the car to keep us all safe when it was dry out. I noticed that it got scary squirrely in the rain and when the ground was wet. I would pray that nothing ever happen to my husband or child while in this car, it seriously scared me.
Then one day, I was rushing home as I worked really late. It had just rained for an hour or more, sudden down pour in April. I figured I would take a faster route as I was engorged (did you really think I wouldn’t mention boobs again?) and was worried about my son having a melt down with my husband. I lowered the volume of the stereo and headed out. I kept reminding myself that I needed to be careful, that it just rained for the first time in a long time. I needed to be aware.
I sat at a red light and saw that it was safe to make a right on to the free way on ramp. I slowly pressed on the accelerator topped out at 10-15mph when the turn was completed. Then I fish tailed. I suddenly started chanting to calm down. I reminded myself not to touch the brake, not to touch the accelerator and no turning the steering wheel because that is how my friend lost complete control of her Explorer years ago. To just try to let the car coast until I got traction again. I soon felt the car calm, felt like I was in control again. I slowly pressed on the accelerator again, got up to 25-30mph and then felt the car begin to spin. I immediately took my foot of the accelerator and reminded myself not to turn, touch the brakes, not to touch the accelerator again. When I saw a construction sign directly in front of me I decided it was time to close my eyes, there wasn’t much I could do, I just didn’t want the accident to be any worse than it was going to be.
I opened my eyes when the car stopped moving. It was surreal, I wished it to be a terrible dream. Then I realized that I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t get of the car on my own. I was hanging from my seat belt looking at foliage on the median and couldn’t find my cell phone. That is when I screamed, cried, begged for help praying someone saw me and would help me. I finally found my cell phone and called my husband to get help and to apologize for destroying his baby, his car. I didn’t realize that my blue tooth was still connected to my phone, which I ripped off pissed that I couldn’t find my phone. I couldn’t hear my husband answer and not knowing he could hear me I spoke to the good Samaritan that stopped and called 911 for me.
I attempted to call my husband again and all I did was cry, I apologized over and over for screwing up. I felt like the worst wife ever. My husband responded the way a husband should, “Shut up! Are you ok? Where are you? I love you. Everything is going to be ok as long as you are ok.” I told every fireman, every police man, and every EMT, every Doctor and nurse I interacted with that night about how I destroyed my husband’s dream car.
My husband took care of everything for the next week, he was my knight in shinning armor. I don’t remember him moping or ever telling me bitterly that I destroyed his car. To be honest, I will be happy if we never own another Explorer, or any other SUV for that matter. I am happy it was me in that car as I am quite a bit shorter that my husband and I am not sure if he would have been able to walk out of the ER a few hours after being checked out. I am thrilled my son wasn’t in the car with me. That was my relationship with the Explorer, our break up was dramatic but long lasting.