You Got a Fast Car

Posted: June 1, 2011 in Cars, Life
Tags: , , , , ,

The title of today’s blog would lead you to believe that I’m going to provide you with the lyrics to that Tracy Chapman song Fast Car. Great song, but that is where you’d be wrong. I am going to talk about cars though. Not how to fix them–sorry all you mechanics, and now how to drive them–sorry all you 14 year olds. All of us have had multiple cars for various reasons–and the one thing all those cars have in common is that there are stories behind every single one of them. Maybe it’s the story of why you don’t have that car anymore, or maybe it’s the story of something that happened inside the car–either way, there’s a story behind it. So think back to all your previous vehicles and the memories you had with them. While you rack your brain, I’ll give you some of mine.

1988 Chevy Celebrity
This car was brown. No copper, or taupe…straight up brown. I paid $50 a month to my great aunt and uncle for this bad boy. It had plush tan seats inside and a cassette tape player that I could hook my Discman adapter into. Best memory of this car was driving back from a party with two of my friends from high school–Julie in the front seat, Nikki in the back–neither of which were as seasoned of a drinker as I was. Nikki started to puke and I yelled at her–so she SWALLOWED it. Julie wasn’t so fortunate–she puked in some forest green sweatpants that I had. Forest green sweatpants that I left in my car until the next afternoon because I didn’t know what to do with them. Did I mention it was summer? That car smelled faintly like puke until the engine died the following fall on the way to an FFA meeting my senior year of high school.

1991 Geo Prizm
I now know what it would be like to drive a Matchbox car thanks to the Prizm. Crosswinds of over 8mph? Better watch out! Best thing about the Prizm was that because of the AA batteries it ran on, you couldn’t have the cruise on at night because there wasn’t enough power to run it and the headlights. Oddly enough, down by the shifter there was an orange button that said POWER. Like it was a turbo booster or something. I pushed that thing so many times while driving, but it never seemed to do a damn thing–I still went about as fast as those red and yellow Playskool cars little kids push with their feet. I remember two things about this car. First one. Someone power braked it on ice and then we hit pavement. That would bring any car up on two tires, but I still to this day don’t know how we didn’t tip that car over. Second one. Driving home one night I took some railroad tracks too fast and bottomed out–no harm, no foul. Until I looked at the passenger side. It’d basically crumpled the frame like a piece of tin foil. Luckily, it was while I was working at a golf course and one of the grounds crew guys fixed it for me.

1988 Buick Park Avenue
The Prizm lasted me through the rest of high school and the first three or so years of college–and then to be honest I’m not sure what happened to it. To be even more honest I don’t really care, because then the Red Dragon waltzed into my life. That’s right–my maroon 1988 Buick Park Avenue. Pretty sure it used to be my grandma and grandpa’s–but I LOVED this car. The seats were so soft had I ever opted to sleep in that car I imagine it would’ve felt like sleeping on a cloud. It ran pretty well, although I used to have to get big burly men to change flats for me because the lugnuts were so rusted. Best story from this car was being the DD one night and going back down to Campustown to pick up some friends. In flops my friend Alex and immediately I can tell at some point before I get him home he’s going to vomit, so I roll the window down. ALL the way down. And he pukes all right. All over the side of the car and INSIDE the window track–so that when I roll the window up, there are puke streaks. I know what you’re thinking right now. Why does everyone always puke in my car? If you figure it out, let me know.

2004 Oldsmobile Alero
My baby. I’ve had this sweet ride for 6 years now. It was a graduation present from my mom and dad, complete with a big red bow on the hood. It caused the official retirement of the Red Dragon, but we’ve made our peace with each other. The Alero had 26,000 miles on it when I got it, and is almost to 99,000 right now, today–which means I’ve put on just over 12,000 miles a year. In theory. Not bad for a car that’s been back and forth to Memphis a few times. Thing about the Alero is that it seems to be a magnet for other cars. In this car I’ve had three pretty major accidents–the second of which occurred 14 hours after getting my car fixed from the first accident. Go ahead and make your bad women driver jokes, but then call up my insurance agent and ask if those accidents were my fault. I imagine the Alero will be driven until it dies, but if I do opt to sell it before that happens, DON’T pull a Carfax report on it.

So how about you guys? Fond memories of your cars? Angry memories of your cars? I don’t really think that our cars (at least not our early ones) are really a reflection of who we are. If that were the case I have NO idea how you’d make any sort of comparison out of my four cars. I went from a shit brown car, to a Matchbox car, to a sweet grandma car, to the car that everyone who bought a car between 2003 and 2005 purchased. Riddle me that. And then let me know if you’re interested in buying a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero with a brand new front end.

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