Today’s topic is: “Tell us about the first car you owned.”
The first time I bought a car all by myself (with the help of a sizable bank loan, that is) was July 3, 2009. She was a green-so-dark-it’s-almost-black 2007 Mazda Miata MX5 six-speed hardtop convertible with leather interior. I named her Felicity.
I was in high school in the early 90s when Mazda introduced the first generation Miata, with its iconic pop-up headlights. I desperately wanted one! I dreamed that owning a Miata (instead of riding the city bus to school) would somehow make me cool. Of course, I never got one and I remained terribly uncool all through high school.
So when I finally reached a point in my career where I felt like I could splurge on myself, I bought my first home, and then a few months later, I bought Felicity.
It was Friday of the Fourth of July weekend. My parents were briefly visiting Boston, so they dropped me off at the dealership and continued on to Maine to see my sister. Once all the paperwork for the loan, insurance, and registration was signed, they handed me the keys to my very own shiny sports car. The question that the dealer never asked me was “do you know how to drive a standard transmission?” My response would have been “well, kinda.”
I had grown up in a family of automatics. But in the days leading up to this frivolous purchase, I had convinced a friend to lend me his car for an hour of parking lot practice. Driving Felicity off the lot that afternoon was the first time I had driven a stick on an actual street. Unfortunately, on my way home, I hit stop-and-go rush hour/holiday traffic. Since I didn’t yet have a feel for the very sensitive clutch, I stalled an embarrassingly large number of times, each time spending many hectic seconds trying to restart the engine, much to the frustration of the drivers around me. (FYI – when the convertible’s top is down, other people’s horns are much louder!)
But throughout that summer, I learned how to drive her and we had a phenomenal time cruising around New England. (Her zippy personality and road-hugging tires are responsible for my one-and-only speeding ticket, although I still maintain that I was traveling with the flow of traffic. The Maine state trooper who pulled me over agreed; he also pulled over the car ahead of me and the car traveling behind me. I didn’t know they could do that!) When cold weather came, I tucked her away in a cozy warm storage unit, so she could hibernate through the long, salty New England winter unaffected.
During my 26 months of ownership, Felicity spent 12 months in storage. In the 14 sunny months, I added 25,000 miles with several cross-country road trips: from Massachusetts to Minnesota and back twice, and on our final adventure together, to Arizona, where I sold her in November 2011.
While driving Felicity was a lark, I must confess that my one true love was as different from Felicity as is automotively possible. My sweetheart’s name was Elsie, a flawless 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60. I adopted her from a friendly family named Horlbeck in Colorado in September 2011.
Just like one of Shakespeare’s plays, Elsie’s story involves love, humor, suspense, and ultimately, tragedy. But I have to save that tale for another day.
Have you ever named a vehicle? Tell me about it in the comments.
~ Phoebe DeCook
(P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Pi(e) Day Giveaway! The winner will be selected on Monday.)
(P.P.S. If you missed previous Musings, you can binge-read from the beginning.)