Friday, January 16, 2009

First Car Blues

So when I look at the local paper this morning, a random column declares that "[one's] first car is always cool."

Bunk. Bunk, I say.

The columnist proclaimed that it didn't matter that his first car was a 1986... lame thing. (Dunno what make or model, and don't care.)

It's all about the freedom, etc. poppycock.

My first car? Lousy.

Perhaps I should elaborate a bit first.

The first car I drove regularly was a massive grey F150. It didn't matter that this thing (nicknamed "Uncle Marky") was the same size as every other F150 my dad's ever owned, it felt bigger. Especially since I was the one driving it.

But that, of course, wasn't my car in any way, shape or form-it was just the car I was learning to drive in.

My first car was a 1989-or-90 Ford Tempo. The first time I started driving that thing...

...the muffler and exhaust pipes fell off without warning. This problem was compounded by the fact that it still belonged to its previous owner. Fortunately, he's my dad's buddy, so it wasn't a big deal, and a few hundred bucks and a week later, the car, such as it was, was mine.

I didn't start driving it regularly for a few more months, though, because that was when I started college.

And at the end of my first week...

...I totalled it.

So much for first cars.

That would be the end of this story, except that, after using Uncle Marky again in its place for a few months, I got another car (for about the same price). Guess what?

Another 1989-or-90 Ford Tempo. I kid you not.

So it was almost like having the old one back. In effect? Still a lousy car. In case you've never driven a Tempo, it's pretty maneuverable because it's small, but its engine is proportionately weaker than that of a typical minivan. So it takes a long time to get up to speed in one of the bloody things. (I don't know for sure, but I think that the brakes in my first one might have been screwed up, hence the crash and burn. 'Course, I've been a much more cautious driver since that accident, and have only been pulled over a grand total of three times since then [twice for going too slow, once for expired tags that we'd forgotten to change].)

So that thing ran well for a while, although it lost its muffler and exhaust pipe on the highway once. (If you were the guy behind me, I'm terribly sorry. Also, nice save.) But eventually, it had to be replaced.

With another Tempo from the same year.

I'm totally serious.

Things went all right with this Tempo, although it once lost its muffler and exhaust pipe in the college parking lot (this seems to be a recurring problem, yes?) and I had to drive it home while wearing earplugs.

Then came the nice car.

My dad's boss was moving, and he had a broken-down car that his wife was demanding he get rid of. So my dad got it cheap. And after it was fixed, it was mine, because that last Tempo was looking pretty ragged.

The new car? A 1996 Buick LeSabre. Despite a rather big chip in the fiberglass, the car's in darned good shape (even now, a few years later).

And, oh yeah, upgrading simultaneously from the Tempo to power windows, semi-useful air conditioning (not on hot days, unfortunately), power seats (my parents' cars don't generally have these), and an actual engine?


-Signing off.

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