Reminiscing about my first car.
I have a guide in progress that’ll hopefully go up tomorrow. But for now I’m just going to tell you a story. When I was a younger man I came home one day to find an old car in the front of our house. I remember thinking at the time that it must be some elderly neighbor come to visit. The car was foreign to me but it could have very well just been a car I hadn’t noticed before. I walked inside and my parents sprung the surprise on me. This old car was mine. At that exact moment I was disappointed. This is one of those moments in your life where you can confirm, without a doubt, that you have changed.
It would not take very long for me to fall in love with that car. As much as one can love an inanimate object. Though, I suppose, cars are somewhat animated. Regardless, I would soon learn how wrong I was. One should not judge a book by its cover. For the record, imagine the car in the featured image in an off gold color. Sorta like a stuffed animal that’s been out in the sun for a bit too long and had its brown fur faded.
Anyways. That car reminds me a lot of myself. It’s not all that much to look at. In the wrong weather it doesn’t run very well. Often I found myself stalling out on the hill out of our high school. I would just pray that I didn’t roll back into the car behind me. Thankfully breaks don’t require power. It took exactly as long as my drive to school for the defroster to start defrosting. It is something of a miracle that I ever made it to school. I’m amazed I never caused anyone harm.
As a kid I could have always gotten to sleep earlier and woke up with enough time to defrost it. The notion of turning the car on and letting it heat up was alien to me at the time as well. I would get into that car and its sub freezing temperatures and blast the air on high. I remember every day pulling into my parking spot at school and having that be almost exactly the moment that the car starts warming up.
Each time I left that car it was like leaving the warm embrace of someone who cares. These days I feel a similar pain when my cats hold onto my legs and stare at me just before I leave for work. “No.” Their eyes say. “You would have more fun rubbing our tummies.”
That car tried. It just never had the power to succeed. I empathized with it then as I do now. I remember how I could drive everywhere without ever letting my foot off the gas. You might think that I was blazing around doing something so insane. But trust me, you don’t know the dodge 400. If you wanted to get up a hill at anything close to highway speeds you’d need to floor it. That feeling of pedal to the metal was actually quite nice. I liked how mindless the act of acceleration was. The few times I did get speeding tickets were a testament not to the great power of the Dodge 400 (because it lacked any) but to the absolutely ludicrously low speed limits in the Bremerton/Silverdale area.
I’ve seen how people do in areas with higher speed limits since I’ve moved to California. Of the many, many, many, many problems this state has, the higher speeds are not on the list. In fact I’d say that’s one of the few saving graces of this state. That and it isn’t Australia. If I had to deal with this heat AND everything being venomous I’d lose my mind.
Again, I digress, that car tried. It was as much a part of me as any other tool and perhaps more so. I remember when its brakes jammed. The car couldn’t get up any hill, regardless of the grade. I thought maybe the engine was dying. And then the rocking began. Something in the tire area had melted, perhaps the metal frame to the tires themselves. I’m not sure anymore. But the car rocked as though it was driving off road. This wouldn’t have been a problem had I not been on the generally well paved roads of Silverdale.
That moment though, when I feared for its survival was nothing compared to what was to come. I do not remember the day nor the year. But I remember the place. Taking a nap in my bedroom. I slept completely unawares to what was happening outside. I would later leave the house to find that the left side of my car looked like it had been beaten in with the broad side of a mountain. Peculiar, for certain. The driver’s side door didn’t even open.
My car was done. This was the sad truth that had been foisted upon me. That little vehicle that tried so hard to be something for me had its life cut. Not necessarily short, as it had its fair share of miles, but certainly shorter than I would have liked. To this day no car has had as comfortable a seat as that car. Like driving on clouds.
A man from down the road walked up and told me what had happened. A house had hit my car.
Hmm. This was a danger I hadn’t considered before. Living in a mobile home park, not to be confused with a trailer park, I had always known that some homes could move. I didn’t think anyone would drive one into my car. Sure enough you could follow the trail of twisted metal that had been sheared off my car all the way to the home that had done it. The semi driver that had made mincemeat of my car had apparently even tried to drive off. Only leaving his details because a friendly neighbor stopped him.
I’m a heavy sleeper but I don’t believe I’ve ever slept through a doorbell. That’s all he had to do. But for whatever reason he winged it and destroyed my car. The replacements that followed each lacked both in quality and comfort. They looked “better” on the outside but nothing had the flare of that car. I remember the incredulous response of the insurance worker when we informed them of what happened.
“So what you are saying is you hit a house with your car?”
“No. As I said, a house hit my car.”
I tell you this story because of a related news story [linked below] that reminded me of it. Apparently someone stole a house. Not one with wheels, either. I’ve heard of many a clever caper, but stealing a house is just wacky. Perhaps even more so than a house hitting my car.