Hot Topic Tuesday: Car Talk

People who know me will laugh when they see this topic, because I suffer from some sort of car curse. It’s sort of my own fault. I need to sell my car. My Jetta spent nearly two months in the shop this year because it began growing a dangerous mold after a botched factory recall of the sunroof drain plugs (don’t ever buy a Volkswagen with a sunroof). During that time, the dealership gave me a courtesy rental car. But only for two-day time chunks. Which meant I drove a lot of cars. For some reason, driving such a grand variety of cars got me thinking about my high school wheels. Get ready. Here it comes. 

In high school, I drove a propane-powered El Camino. I mean, the propane tank just sat there, larger than life, in the bed of the car. Some people assumed that it was some sort of speed demon vehicle and that the propane tank contained super-powerful fuel. Not so. But it led to countless men challenging me to race them at red lights. Which led to countless male-driven pickup trucks squealing away from me when the light turned green.

The funny thing about my propane-powered El Camino is that I can’t ever remember being embarrassed by it. I drove the crap out of that pig. I schlepped people around in it. Picked up groceries for my mom. Went on dates to the drive-in. Beep! Beep! I loved my El Camino. (After I took beginning Spanish and learned that it meant ‘The Road’ I liked it even more.)  I guess I knew that it was funny looking, but I never felt like I was my car. I was a person. My car was just the thing I drove. But I might be in the minority here.  What do you think? Does your high school car define you? Maybe mine defined me and I wasn’t self-aware enough to realize it. Of course I was aware of the limitations. No backseat. Constant smell of chemical odorant mercaptan.  Couldn’t go grocery shopping in the rain. Could only gas it at Petrolane Stores and had to exit the vehicle and stand behind the safe yellow line until all valves were resealed and secured. (Sometimes I’d get a rebel gas attendant who’d let me stay in the vehicle during the fueling process. Then, I took it as a flirtatious gesture. Now, I’d see that as flammable laziness.)

So there’s the story of my high school wheels. What do you or did you drive? And what do you think it says about you?


Melissa Sarno said...

I love this post and your El Camino is awesome. I didn't get my license until college so I let people drive me around all through high school. I'm not sure what that says about me. I still don't have a car, actually, because I live in a city and don't need one. But I'm very proud of my bicycle! :-)

Sarah Darer Littman said...

I drove a handmedown two tone (dark blue top, powder blue metallic bottom) 1975 Oldsmobile Omega, which we called the OmegaMobile. It was a total gas guzzler, 8 cylinder engine, with a lovely velor bench seat in the front, perfect for squishing lots of friends shotgun. I had it through college and then I think it went to be a taxi in Tijuana.

These days I drive the MomMobile, an SUV with 127000 miles on the clock and custom keying on the passenger door courtesy of some @#$#% in the Target parking lot. But my DREAM, now that son is going off to college and I won't be driving the five kid carpool anymore and needing that extra row of seats in the back, is to finally get that BMW hard-top convertible. I have always wanted a convertible, my whole life. Unfortunately, that dream might take a while to realize. But it's still there. In the meantime, Awesome Boyfriend lets me borrow his convertible from time to time, which is one of the many reasons he is Awesome.

jenniferpickrell said...

I am jealous of your El Camino! I drove my parents sedan when I was in high school. Not very exciting, but fun to cram everyone I knew into it. A couple years out of high school I bought a used Dodge Neon and it leaked and made weird noises, but it was *mine,mine,mine* and I loved that car until the day it died on the side of the Interstate.

Michaela said...

I love your El Camino story! My first car was a 1978 Pinto station wagon. It was primer grey, and the interior was a combination of blood red vinyl seat coverings and blood red shag carpeting. It leaked oil, so I carried a case of it in the back and drove in a perpetual blue cloud. It chugged along and took a full minute to go from 0-60, if it even made it to 60 mph. It didn't have air conditioning and the radio only got AM stations. It did have a cassette player, but Don McClean's American Pie was stuck in there when I got the car. I knew that song by heart - still do.

A few weeks before I graduated from college, my friends decorated my car by sticking their hands in primary colored paint and leaving handprints all over it. It was awesome. I drove it to my first teaching job for a year, and it was a hit with my students. When I finally bought a new car, I was happy, but there are times when I miss that car and the freedom it represented.

Sarah Laurence said...

Fun car! I grew up in Manhattan so no one had a car. I do spend time "shopping" for cars for my teen characters. That choice does help define character. These days my life in Maine with a family defines my car: big enough to deal with kids and carpools. I've so far avoided a minivan.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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