ThinkKit Day 5: What did you say goodbye to this year? Was it a bad habit? A ’94 hatchback? Or something less tangible? How did you feel the day after? The week after?
In 2014, we said goodbye to the car that Andy had deemed, “Pimp Mobil.”
Cars are funny. At least for me. I have so much attachment to them. I know some people just think of them as the thing that gets them from point A to point B, but that’s like thinking of food as just fuel.
Cars have meant something to me since I was a little girl. My dad loves cars and part of our Saturday routine was going to look at cars, test drive cars and sometimes even buy cars. He would get a call from a dealership and out we would go to spend our day driving whatever they gave him to try. A Lotus, an Audi, a supercharged Porsche 911.
He never bought a Lotus, but sure did love his Porsches. Which brings me to another interesting point: I wasn’t allowed to drive them, but my brother was. That policy seems very unlike my dad, who made sure I knew how to drive a stick even before I actually had a license because he never wanted me to, “have to depend on a man” to get me home.
I got a car for my 16th birthday. We went out to dinner to celebrate. My dad told me I could drive my mom’s car home. He went to go get it and he was going to pick us up in front of the restaurant. He pulled up in my Honda Prelude. The blue one I wanted so bad. I cried.I cannot find the picture where I first see it, but here is a picture of me on my 16th birthday when we got back home for cake. Yes, that is really what my hair looked like when I was 16. Hey, it was the 80s.
About a year and a half later, I wanted a new car. A convertible. We shopped around, looked at a few and I had one all picked out that I loved. It was a blue Cabriolet. I can still see the light blue interior with tiny little polka dots on it. It was awesome. Then, one day, my dad brings home this red one instead. I cried.
This time, I cried because I wanted the blue one; not the red one. In retrospect, probably not the best response I could have had. I had this car until I went away to college. It hung around the first year I was gone, then became a victim to the slow division and liquidation of mutal assets during my parents divorce process.
I was living in Philadelphia and needed a car. My dad bought me a cute little Honda Civic, a hatchback, and my brother drove it out for me. Finally, I had a car again. It was the perfect city car. I parallel parked it in the smallest of parking spaces; I hugged the turns on Kelly Drive and I weaved in and out of city traffic being sure not to block the box. I had that car for years, even when I moved back to Indiana in 1994.
Then, I was hit by a drunk driver and the accident scared me. It made me think my car wasn’t as safe as the new cars with those airbag thingies. I bought another Honda Civic, a red coupe. I loved that car too. I had my first cell phone in that car. Drove it to my first real job and had it when I got married and when we moved in to the first house we bought together. But soon, we started talking about having babies. I wanted something more practical.
I found a used Honda Accord wagon and we took out our first car loan together to get it. It was a great car and we brought Philip home from the hospital in it. Shortly after it was paid off, there was talk of baby #2. This time, I wanted a van. I found a used Honda Odyssey in the paper. It was located in a small town near the state line. We drove to see it; I loved it. It was perfect. Low miles, single owner, in great shape. We bought it. We brought Sam home from the hospital in it. We moved to our new house in it. We drove to get stitches and to preschool and to playgroups. Phillip, just a toddler at the time, loved to play in this car and would spend hours washing it on hot summer days. We took trips and hooked up a TV so the kids could watch videos.
And then, I wanted a new van. I needed doors that opened on their own with a single pull. I wanted a built in DVD player and that new map thingy. We sold that van and bought a new van. This time, we bought a brand new van. It was the first new car Jeff had ever had in his life. I still remember when we went to pick it up. He said he wanted to drive it off the lot because he had never gotten to do that. He did it.
We had that van for 10 years. We brought Andy home from the hospital in it. We took so many trips in it to Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and more. That van took me to the hospital with a broken leg, took my mom to see a melanoma specialist in Columbus and brought Jeff home from two knee surgeries. There were some special “adult only” memories (especially that one in the Fresh Market parking lot). There were sad times like driving to funerals or leaving somewhere feeling hurt or unwelcome. There were many drivers—family members, friends and nannies. There were many passengers—family members, friends sometimes strangers. It was a good car.
When we got rid of the Pimp Mobile, we got a new van. It’s super fancy and very nice. I like it; I love it. But, it’s just not my old one. It’s funny how attached I got to that car. And sometimes, simpler is better. So the old van didn’t have blind spot sensors or a vacuum in the car, but it had old chewing gum in the carpet and that sucker that Sam hid under the seat. It was missing the “H” from where I backed out before the garage door had finished opening. It had that tiny scratch where the nanny ran alongside a bike in the garage. It had ten years of our lives in it.
We have already put a year into the life of this new van and it’s been a good year. The car already has almost 14,000 miles on it. Every one of them is full of a memory.