Thursday, February 5, 2009

Get out of my dreams and into my car...

March 4th, 1996 was a day that I longed for! That day meant freedom, fully enjoying off campus lunch, being the cool big sister to Taylor and Kristen and their 8 year old friends (I had high standards), cruising the "drag" while listening to Tupac, Salt-n-Peppa and TLC and having the ability to do what I wanted when I wanted. I lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone, and everyone knew what everyone drove. I remember all the cool girls that got 2 door cameros, eagle talons, Mitsubishi eclipse, the firebird....whoo seemed like the prettier the girl the better the car! The boys loved them and the girls wanted to be them!

Well watch out Duncan High! T-Rog is turning 16! I got a 1987, 4 door, 187K Mile Nissan Maxima! You got that right...there was no stopping me. When everyone ran out to lunch and piled in cars it took my crew 1/2 the time because I had 4 doors instead of 2! Those firebirds with t-tops and 10 disk cd changers had nothing on me man. I had a tape deck and a portable cd player that did the trick. The only bad part was when I hit a bump or turned a corner. If the song just skipped it was business as usual, but starting all the way back over and re-singing every word to "Waterfalls" was just part of the game. We did what we had to do. The best was that the starter was going out. It was always a crap-shoot as to when the starter would strike. When I would try to turn my car on it would make the most excruciating sound of metal on metal you have ever heard. Embarrassing....heck ya it was! You try being 16 and not being able to start your car because it sounds like a machine shop. I thought my life was over and it was ridiculous and embarrassing, mom laughed hysterically and told me it was building character. (She was right by the way!) The other small "issue" with the Maxima is that she wouldn't hold oil. I literally had to refill the oil whenever I filled up with gas. I kept 5 bottles of oil in my trunk at all times and while the gas was pumping I would top her off. This seemed to crack my friends up. Let me tell you, a cheerleading outfit, a pledge jersey, pearls and heels...all perfectly acceptable outfits for popping the hood and gettin' a bit dirty! I did have it down to an art and hardly even got so much as dirt under my nails.

That is one FINE piece of machinery!

I drove the "Maxi-Pad" throughout high school and I took her to college. She was with me through Friday night football games, cruising Duncan with my friends, taking us for cokes at Dave's cave and finally, being a college girl sporting that Pi Phi sticker so well! Her time came and it became apparent that she was no longer safe to drive. Lucky me, the stars aligned and mom was ready to get a new car and I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a 1994 Dodge Intrepid.

One thing's for sure, I could pick The Beast/Black Beauty out in a crowd because I can guarantee you no other 19th year old was cruising around College Station in a boat. You know, this was kind of my time to know what it felt like to be one of those girls driving a camero. Not because I had a super cool Camero, but because I too had to slow down to 5 mph to take a dip in the road. The Intrepid was a low rider and she didn't appreciate bottoming out. The best was that she, along with the Maxima, had about 180K miles. She had been driven hard and she was almost at the end of her rope. My friends always offered to drive so they wouldn't have to been seen in my car, but occasionally Black Beauty could be see making her rounds down Hollimon or cruising University. Her downfall was the transmission. It was a gradual ailment, but one that proved fatal. We would laugh when the car literally jolted you when it hit about 40 miles an hour. I was afraid I would get sued for whip-lash before long. It was the end of spring semester junior year and I packed up the beast and headed for Round Rock. I drove 45mph the ENTIRE 3 hours (Usually an hour and 45 minute trip) because my car wouldn't switch into 5th gear. It was brutal. Totally brutal. When I hit town, I took the back roads because I knew it wasn't safe to get on I-35. I got about 3 miles from my house and I started hitting stop have GOT to be kidding me. I stopped at the first one and my car literally was in a cloud of smoke and would hardly go through the intersection. Have any of you ever run out of gas and right there at the end you can feel your car lunging and stopping...Bradley could tell us a thing or 2 about that....but that is what my car was doing. She was saying NO! A cop pulled up behind me, of course! I was motioning for him to come up to my window because I could NOT stop that car. If I did, we were not getting it going again. I explained my predicament and that I was literally 2 miles from home at this point. He gave me the green light and told me I didn't have to stop at anymore stop signs and he would escort me home....y'all, I have never been more mortified in my life! (Well, maybe when I did back handsprings into the Gatorade buckets senior year at the varsity football game...) I putted home in a full-on cloud of smoke thinking the car was officially on fire, with police escort, and that was the final trip for the intrepid. She went down in a blaze of glory! The best part was that mom was literally standing in the driveway, not the time. Too fresh.

Black Beauty

You see, now, years later, these stories are funny. I realize that it doesn't matter what you drive as long as you get there. I appreciate my parents for giving me a car instead of me having to buy my own. It might not have been the coolest car in town (ok, it was NOT the coolest car in town) but it worked and character building it did! I can safely say, my kids will not be getting new cars either and there is no whining they can do because they can't top me. Hopefully a few of you had some great times in the Maxima and the Intrepid! There you have it America....what was your first car?

PS....I do have to admit that both of these dazzling cars had sunroofs....There was a bit of glamour...

PPS...Neither of these are actually photos of MY car, because I would have to go through photos at my parent's house to find some. The digital camera was a clutch invention. But this is exactly what both of my cars looked like so you get the idea.


Kristen said...

I can't believe that you made no mention of the squeaky brakes!

Ahh - memories.

sem said...

hysterical. i had mister plastic (1990 hyundai sonata) and the skittle (1997 ford escort) to get me thru high school and college... same deal... my question is this- did KRISTEN ever have to deal with this madness? b/c z surely did NOT. it was new car new car for her everytime. i continue to have her beat in the "character" department, but i don't think she cares :) :) xoxo.

Kate and Zach said...

You are hilarious! It's so fun reading your posts- makes me smile every time!

CDE said...

Girl...i have been bustin a gut reading this!! HILARIOUS! My first car was a 92 toyota corolla, blue, scratched, and i think at th end of it all, i had to open the door from the outside, the speedometer didnt work, and it too went up in a blaze of glory outside of my parents house after a drive home from college! I have had the same car now for 7 years, and it has 170k miles on it... and its not going anywhere soon!!