The Wheels of a Wahoo

By Michael Herce

   So you decided to become a Wahoo. With the myriad of academic, social, and cultural opportunities UVA has to offer, first semester flies by, leaving behind only memories of the mass excursions to Rugby Rd., the great food and conversations you had on the Corner, and the brisk autumn air stinging your lungs as you sprint down the Lawn exposing your shame to all. Having pushed the limits of your first-year world already, you long to venture beyond the confines of grounds during your second semester. You want to explore that unknown territory that comprise the many shops and eateries on Rt. 29. and embark on journeys to places that exist only as faint illusions in the minds of first years-- Crozet Pizza, Keglers Bowling Alley, and the Downtown Mall. You're tired of enduring the erratic UTS (University Transport Service) schedule and having to wait for a runaway trolley from San Francisco (known to Wahoos as the HooBus) if you want to head downtown on a Friday night. You want freedom; you need a car.

But not just any car. You want to show up at the house (of course I mean Fraternity House, for those are the only houses that are of any real importance at UVA) and win the approval of your "brothers" who have been paddling you every night for the last three months. And then there is the issue of traversing the mountainous Charlottesville terrain, with altitudes in some areas exceeding 200 ft above sea level. Finally, there are the ladies, and by ladies I mean only the most intelligent, beautiful, and morally-upstanding women at UVA--sorority girls. If you want to climb the social ladder with one of these fine women on your arm, no ordinary car will do. If you really want to be somebody, you must be seen behind the wheel of a sports utility vehicle.

Any make or model will suffice, among them the Ford Explorer, Chevy Blazer, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Jimmy, Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, and Toyota 4-Runner. But if you want to be part of that upper echelon of Wahoos, you're going to need to ask Mommy and Daddy for some big bucks. The Toyota Land Cruiser and the line of vehicles by Range Rover can really put a dent in your pocket, ranging in price from $35,000 to $80,000, and represent the ultimate in Wahoo transportation.

In the end, however, the cost is worth it. Owning a SUV, as they are affectionately known, brings with it a feeling of security, superiority, and power. Like a hillbilly straight out of a monster truck rally, you feel in command of the road and capable of handling any obstacle in your path--whether it is a few feet of snow, a mud bog, or a line of thirty demolished cars. Sitting high above the Mercedes, Porsches, and BMWs of the world, you feel like the king of every highway and byway, mightier than the Commissioner of the DMV himself. When you drive by, heads turn to see the person cruising comfortably not only through town, but through life. Your sports utility vehicle becomes an extension of yourself; it makes up part of who you are as a Wahoo.

ENLT 214M, OCTOBER 1997