Sunday, January 3, 2010

I drive a mini-van. I didn't really want to drive a mini-van at this stage in my life, but I have a hard time arguing with my husband's logic, so I am the primary driver of a 1999 Chrysler Town & Country, which is overflowing with the types of things other families keep in their garages. [We currently live in an apartment...but I remember fondly the dumping zone in our former lives as homeowners.] This is quite a ride, ladies & gentlemen. One day, a backdoor handle just popped right off the car in my hand. The other door has no interior panel - well, has no interior panel attached to it; said panel sits up against the previously mentioned door whose handle died earlier last year.
And let us not forget, there are juice box explosion stains and there are strawberry ice cream smudges and I cannot believe this is true, but there is still the remnant of a sticker from the previous owner's parking pass on my windshield. This mini-van is not 'my car' - I rarely address i t as such. This (very convenient, but very inefficient) ride is just that - a vehicle for transportation. I don't love this car, I have never loved this car. Which makes me sad, because I know what it's like to love a car.

My first car was a 1984 Honda Accord (Colby), but that's a story for another day. My second car, just the thought of her makes me smile. My red 1991 Honda Civic hatchback coupe. The youngest car I have ever owned. I was a Senior in high school, working at Target and I remember seeing her in the driveway of a neighbor's house on my way home from work one day. And I vividly remember haggling with the very nice family who owned her over me lowballing them. I was paying cash, which gave me an advantage - and I remember the wife - Lori, reminding her husband of some past instance where they apparently had cheated some system and now giving me a deal would sort of even things out for them. There were lots of crosses around the house, so I knew the strength of religious guilt was on my side.

I rode home, completely giddy, in my new car; my new little red roller skate of a car that had not only a radio, but a CD PLAYER and fully functioning speakers AND, oh god, it had air conditioning. And it was clean and small and adorable and it was mine to decorate (and boy, did I) and customize and to love. That car took me everywhere I needed to go, from Savannah to Blacksburg, VA, without question or stall and do you know how much gas cost back then? I have a picture - and this was two years later, when I was in college - of a Quiktrip with regular gas for 69c a gallon. (c=cents. SIXTY NINE CENTS! A GALLON!) She & I were an item, she was my sidekick, my running mate. I remember my sweet friend who named her for me - because she needed a name and so I petitioned my classmates (in my sociology class? my home ec class? P.E.? All of them?) and then Melissa said "I think it's 'Suzy,'" and she was right; that was my car's name for the next 8 years. Suzy meant so much to me, I suppose, because she was the symbol of my freedom. [Of course, and my husband insisted that I sell her almost immediately after we married - HA.] I was free to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted in that car. I could pack up everything I needed and leave for good in that car (and I did, and boy, did I revel in the fact that such exits were possible). Suzy put the world at my feet and for that she will always be holy in my mind.

Two cars and 13 years later, I am driving in the most luxurious mini-van money could buy in 1999. Seat heaters, leather everything, temperature/mileage/blahblah gauges, motorized seats & windows, cassette & CD player (thank god for the former - iPhone/Pandora compatible)and a trailer hitch...just in case I want/need to tow something. Like a boat? Behind my boat? It's all very nice, and then totally not nice at all, and has lots of electrical quirks and good lord almighty, there are the snacks embedded in the carpet, I nearly forgot those treasures. Sure, it's a functioning car and who am I to bitch about having reliable transportation, but, well, dang, I miss the zip of a little car. I miss economical fuel milage. I miss being in love with my car, or at least liking my car.

My husband is supposed to give it the A-Team van paint job. I think that could kindle some serious feelings of affection.

Made by Lena