Monday, April 1, 2013

New Car

We did it - we went and got a new automobile. This means that my ride no longer smells like moldy pretzels and bank lollipops; instead, we now sport that indefinable New Car odor. Sweet!

Our car is so smart that it freaks me out. It knows when my phone is ringing and broadcasts the call through the stereo system, the kids can watch DVD's in the back on long trips (no more "Are we therrrrrrre yet?") and when I throw it into reverse, mini cams come on automatically and show me the view from behind. 

All this for a child of the sixties. I used to ride in my mom's VW Beetle, the one that burst into flames spontaneously. We were riding along with Birghitta, my parent's friend from Sweden, who announced that she smelled smoke. I looked down at the space between the door and the seat: 

"Flames!" I shouted. 
Hell, I'd drive it. 

We all burst out of the car. My mom grabbed someone's sweater and beat the flames into submission. Eventually they went out and we stood by the side of the road in rural Pennsylvania, listening to the wind in the pines. No cell phones were at hand, of course, nor phone booths either. Finally my mother climbed back into the car and started it up. It roared to life, and we all, without any other option, climbed back in and drove off.

So those are the kinds of cars I'm used to. My first car was my beloved Rodge the Dodge, a 1970 Dart that cost one hundred dollars. My sister's car was called Diny, short for Dinosaur, and it was a huge finned monster that sucked down gas but kept on going. 

My friend drove a VW bus, complete with missing floorboards and heat that inexplicably only came on in the summer. We drove around Chester County, hugging a huge ghetto blaster that played any one of our mixed tapes (Bowie, Sinatra, Marley, Robert Gordon - we were an eclectic crew.) She used to park in front of Wawa with the door hanging open and the keys left in the ignition - daring someone to come and take the bus. 

There was the Ford Pinto that one of my dates drove - yes, the car with the exploding gas tank. It heads most of the "Worst Cars of the 70's" lists. That was luxury compared to the vehicles in Mexico; I was hot and heavy with a guy in Monterrey, and some of the forms of transport literally raised the hair on my head. I particularly remember one car with a cracked windshield that I wedged myself into along with about fifteen of his friends... Good times...

So to move to a car that people actually seem to admire, with the DVD and the rear cameras, is very odd for me. At times, I miss the 8-track stereo and the cranked windows - surely they make more sense if you're going to fall off a bridge?

But I do love me some GPS. Since I have the homing instincts of a Dodo, not a pigeon, that thing comes in very, very handy.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Jill Haugh said...

My first two cars were '73 Super Beetles. I loved the sound, the flooding (they took on water like a leaky skiff), the mice, the smell of gas--always, the little backwards triangle window, the funky heater, and all the inexplicable things that went along with those cazy cars. But they just kept on going!
~Just Jill

Alison DeLuca said...

The little triangle window! I forgot about that.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Please let us know what happened after the car decided that you shouldn't go somewhere...if you are still able.

Ava Harness said...

No matter how high-tech your new car is, it's quite hard to not get nostalgic about the old cars you used to have, especially when you've made so many memories with them. Anyway, how is your car today? And yes, I agree with you. The GPS is absolutely handy. It's made navigating easier. It helps me remember places I go to as well. Keep safe on the road always!