“I don’t mind,” we say. “It doesn’t bother me.” “It’s the lifestyle.” That’s the refrain of the Jeep Wrangler driver, those seemingly-crazy people who drive “topless” in single digit temperatures, who have an entire wardrobe just for Jeep travel, and who strip down cargo to the absolute essentials because they’re counting on getting rained on… inside the vehicle. These are my people. While one of my least favorite things is being cold, being cold in the Jeep is somehow different, more charming, part of a larger outdoor experience than freezing anywhere else. Thus, the refusal to zip windows into the soft top no matter the weather.
But once a year, usually during the first torrential rainstorm of Spring (I’d say “convertible season” but among Wrangler owners “convertible season” could last all year long) I question that decision. And not during the storm, either. No, my regret over being so “carefree” (or lazy, depending on your point of view) strikes upon climbing into the Jeep only to set my feet (and laptop and bags and coat) in the lake the storm left behind where where the floorboards used to be. In my conversations with those who don’t speak “Jeep” I brag about the plugs in the floor specifically for this type of drainage. But in the recesses of my mind I worriedly calculate just how much junk I can carry on the passenger seat – the only dry spot in the vehicle other than the driver’s seat.
Of course, that thought passes as quickly as the storm, and my attention turns to the forecast. There’s just a 35-percent chance of rain, you say? Guess it’s time to take the doors off.