Wednesday, December 28, 2005

How my first car is a good metaphor for me

Automotive awesomeness, thy name is Sammy, my 1987 Suzuki Samurai. Has man ever achieved such vehicular greatness since you rolled off that assembly line in Osaka (or somewhere)? I say no.

I bought you from the father-in-law of my band teacher for about two grand. His step-son called you a "vehicular object," but I just called you cool.

(Pictures from the era when I drove that little car-truck in the mid-90s are scarce, so we'll have to go with Sammy's identical cousin at top right.)

You were not without fault, I admit. No seatbelts in the rumble seat the back. The high rollover risk. The warning on the visor that read (I'm not making this up): "The canvas top provided with this vehicle is meant only to offer some protection against inclement weather and is not designed to keep occupants inside the vehicle in the event of an accident. Always wear your safetybelt."

Fine advice, unless you're riding in the rumble seat.

I never took you offroad, and I'm sorry I didn't. How I wish now I had taken my Latin II classmates up on their offer to go "mud-hogging."

Of course, the one time I did shift you into 4WD (inclement weather), a loading pin dislodged and necessitated a repair worth about half your entire value. So maybe offroading wouldn't have been such a good idea.

But it was your little charms that more than made up for those quirks. Trusty tape deck. Locking glove box. Sweet removable canvas top that would remain folded up for weeks at a time, thanks to the temperate Carolina climate. I know you'd stack up to any other first car.

If only the repair of a failing front wheel axle ("Clicking or popping during tight turns? Call C.V. Master, 910 Laurens Road.") weren't so expensive, you might have lived forever.

But as it was, I signed over your title for a song -- simply the cost of having you towed out of my parents drive. And I did it from 1,000 miles away. I still feel bad, pulling the plug like that.

Where are you now? I like to imagine that the nice tow man took you to a field where you could play with the other Barbie Jeeps. If this isn't true, please don't let me know.


Anonymous Rip Tide said...

Aww the love of first cars...I will never forget my steely gray "Earl" aka 1986 Toyota Camry. Leaving a half hour early for school in the morning so as not to stall in midmorning traffic...taking the long way to track practice to avoid hills. I'll never forget your dashboard compass...but sadly as all first cars do....Earl had to die.

December 28, 2005  
Anonymous Princess said...

Princess, the 1991 white ford taurus that smelled like menthol cigarettes and air freshner trees. You went to the junkyard in the sky when your brakes failed on the hill near the beach.

December 28, 2005  
Anonymous K-Don said...

Dear Saab 900,

Why did you emit plumes of steaming coolant from the steering wheel and hood on a hot day in July? You were full of cans and I was driving you to the recycling plant to get enough money for my band uniform. You filled with blinding evaporated chemicals, and so I veered right and crashed you into a Holiday Inn parking lot. You never smelled the same.

December 29, 2005  
Anonymous MeredythR said...

I can definitely relate. With 2006 comes the remarkable tenth birthday of the Neon, my first and only vehicular object. Hard to believe, I know. I wasn't sure it'd make it to five, but who among us does not have some unsure moments in youth? I feel blessed to share these happy golden years with the Neon. I enjoy the daily adventure of driving without a speedometer, odometer, gas gauge, automatic blinker cancellation, interior lighting, that little ding you're supposed to hear when you try to leave the care with your keys in the ignition or the lights on, or a functioning sound system. We share an existance as hearty, weathered souls hidden beneath our cute, shiny exteriors, if I do say so.

January 01, 2006  

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