Suburban Snapshots

In Cars

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I love my car. I've loved all of my cars except for one. Recently the amazingly hilarious Aunt Becky over at posted about giving up her favorite car and it started me reminiscing.

On my list of reasons for maintaining my one-child lifestyle is that I don't want to be forced into a bigger vehicle. You can judge me.

My first car, Suki, was a 1986 5-speed Chevy Spectrum, a little red tin can that got me places. I was 20 when Dad bought it for me. Barely knowing how to drive stick, I still got it the hour home from New York City. When I needed to stop I'd take it completely out of gear and slam on the brakes. Eventually I learned to downshift, and I'm forever grateful to that junker for forcing me to learn stick. After a while it started to buck in low gears like a mechanical bull, a problem no one could seem to solve. One afternoon I hit the brakes and my foot thudded to the floor. Later, the clutch cable snapped in a similar fashion — I pressed it, and the pedal kept going. My dad was able to rescue me, rigging up a bike cable to get me home. I'm still impressed by that (but do I know how to change a tire?).

Next, the first brand new car I ever owned, Javier. He was a 1995 red Honda Civic CX hatchback. Always reliable, no power steering (hello, parallel parking guns), and a shockingly big cargo area. I moved dressers in that thing. I loved him. I cried the day my good friend Joe, Jav's second owner, texted me a photo of Jav, dismantled and disrespected, left for dead in the woods just outside of Boston. We'd been so many places, through 3 or 4 idiot boyfriends, a similar number of apartments, several parking tickets, and one boot (oh, those fuckers'll find you). I couldn't bear to see him treated so brutally.

After Jav came unnamed, used Civic sedan. I couldn't master the clutch in that car, and while he was pretty, we just never bonded. His driver's side window got stuck open just as Steve and I hit the road home from South Carolina, and that was his swan song.

Steve and I bought the Honda Element together, brand new. I commuted by train so it's always been his toaster car. I loved the 13-year-old Subaru I got when we moved to New Hampshire, it ran perfectly and only had to be taken off the road two years later because of rust. After three years of taking public transportation with people who I swear were raised by deaf badgers, the Subaru was my personal space restored — plus, 100% fewer masturbating homeless guys!

Just over a year ago I went and mommed it up with a 2002 Passat wagon. My love for the car rivals my adoration of Jav. I was never a power-everything-leather-V6 kind of girl, but of all the used Passats we looked at, this was priced best. Now the problem I have is this: I can't go back to unheated seats, 4 cylinders, no cool red light shining down from my rear-view mirror, and seriously, the miniature sun visor that sits between the other two visors. Oh Germans, how I love you.

I know some of you prefer your trucks, need your minivans, or drive Escalades because you're a Real Housewife of the Someplace Trashy, but I'm forever a car girl. I like it low to the ground and tight on the curves, and when Anna's not around I like it ear-splittingly loud. Even with all the smashed up Goldfish, it's pretty hot.

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