Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Car I Couldn't Drive

Photo credit: Free Digital Photos
I am not what you would call a "car person". I don't know the difference between RPMs and the number of cylendars a car has (and what that means to me as a driver). I don't know the difference between an alternator and a transmission. I'm not even sure what makes the car go. I  do know how to change a tire (thanks to my step dad) and how to change the oil (thanks to The Man Beast). Beyond that, I'm hopeless.

However, that's not to say that I don't love my car. There is something about having a car that's magical. My car is a 2001 Malibu and it is completely paid off; it's all mine! Being a turtle fanatic, I've been able to find a turtle steering wheel cover and family stickers to go on my back window - despite the fact that my car isn't any shade of green (or yellow or brown). I ask quite a bit of it and it just keeps on trucking. Sure I have to give it a slap every now and then to get the AC working, but over all, it has been good to my family and me.

But this car isn't my first love. No, my first love was a 1988 white, Subaru Justy. It had a standard transmission, two doors and a hatchback. It was a basic model and it didn't come with AC. Virginia can get pretty hot in the summer, but I didn't care. It was mine.

Never mind that I didn't have the $2,000 to buy or the ability to drive it.

Luckily, my aunt loaned me the money and I was able to buy the car I couldn't drive. Again, my step dad came to rescue. I was scooting around my city in no time. Back in 1994, gas was super cheap. Add to the fact that my car was super small and a fill up was between $5-$10. I was in business!

I remember so many things about that car:

  • I didn't take care of it as well as I should have. I remember driving down the main strip of town, in a pouring down rain storm, and my brakes (brake pads?) fell off! Luckily, because it was a standard, I was able to "stop" without using the brakes.
  • The first time I drove it to work, a yellow Volvo backed into me. I didn't call the cops and the dude skipped out on me. (Lesson learned!)
  • I drove that car to Norfolk on my way to college. On the way, I was behind a large construction truck and a pebble flew off the truck, hit my windshield, and cracked it. I never pursued the company. 
  • I remember hauling friends around in the car frequently. For some reason, there was a stretch of time when something in my car stunk to high heaven. I never figured out what it was and one day, it disappeared.
  • I taught The Man Beast how to drive a stick shift in that car. In rush hour traffic. In Miami.
  • Toward the end of it's life, it was very sad and used to overheat in stop and go traffic.
  • One day it died and my mother sold my car and I don't even remember why.
There are a lot of firsts we remember. Most of us remember our first cars and you don't have to be a "car person" to be a part of the club.

All of these memories come flooding back every time I see a 1988 white, Subaru Justy driving around my town...

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