I want to replace heated steering wheel with A/C seats

By B.A. Belthoff / The Bulletin

Recently, when I needed a pair of sneakers, my husband, Alan, and I ran out to our nearby Academy store. He was ecstatic as we got to the parking lot. It was as if angels began singing.

“They get five stars from me,” he said. “They have nice big parking spaces. This is the way all parking lots should be! Look how much space is around this truck!”

He was pointing to the truck across from our car. The person who was parked next to the truck would actually be able to get into their car with ease. The lines that delineate the space were actually on the sides of the truck – not underneath it!

My Volkswagon Touraeg is coming off lease soon. I was thrilled when we got it because it had a heated steering wheel. That won’t do much good here, but if you ever move north and need to get a car, that’s a really important feature to have when the weather turns cold.

Keeping your hands warm helps you to feel warmer all over. When you forget your gloves, having a heated steering wheel makes a cold morning a little easier to bear.

“Have you been thinking about what kind of car you want to drive?” Alan asked.

I’ve never really cared what I drove, as long as it was dependable and had the necessary safety features.

“Not really,” I responded. “I definitely know I don’t want anything too big.”

It’s scary pulling the car into the garage, parking at the supermarket, and driving on 290, 610, 59, 8, and FM-anything. I’d really prefer something smaller than what I’m driving now. I have only one requirement, and that’s for air-conditioned seats.

It’s soooo hot here. Couple the heat and humidity of the summer with a hot flash, and I’m pretty sure I could melt into the pavement like the Wicked Witch of the West. Or maybe I’ll turn into the Wicked Witch of the West and then burst into flames.

Either way, I need air conditioning.

At first, I didn’t think it seemed like a tall order for this Jersey girl living in Texas. I’m not needy or high-maintenance. I don’t care about the color of the car, or the wheel covers, or the radio, or any of the other items that may make or break a deal for others.

As it turns out, though, trading in my heated steering wheel for air-conditioned seats is a tall order, and by that, I mean, pricey. It seems, air-conditioned seats are not a typical feature, such as a sunroof or GPS. My single request is found only in the top-tier vehicles. Go figure! Can everyone say pretty princess?
We’ve started test-driving different models. I’m now beginning to feel like Goldilocks instead of the Wicked Witch. This one is too big; that one is too small. This one is too low to the ground; that one has a high center of gravity.

Alan reminded me that I was going to have to make a decision, sooner or later. “Have you given any thought to getting a truck?” he asked.

Had he even been listening?

At this rate, I’m not going to be getting a new car any time soon. I should have purchased glass slippers, and like Cinderella, be driven in a pumpkin chariot. But this fairy tale doesn’t end that way.

I guess I’ll be needing that new pair of sneakers to walk where I want to go. I just wish they came with air-conditioning.

(New-ish Texas resident B.A. Belthoff welcomes your comments. You can reach her at babelthoff@gmail.com.)