Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Talk About Cheesy

I wrote this (with a couple of minor changes as I retype it) on July 20, 1996. It is about my first car, the Bethmobile, a 1987 Chevrolet Nova.

A light blue Chevrolet Nova sat parked in my driveway. It was old and rusted in a few spots. The dents in the back right bumper were still there from the accident the car had with that truck, years ago. The emblem from the dealership fell off long before the accident. I loved that car. I still do.

When I sat in the driver’s seat, I felt powerful, comfortable and happy. I looked on the dash, smiling as the Rs and Ls next to the steering wheel helped me remember how not to get lost. The stick shift with its five gears and reverse was next to my leg. The parking brake was behind the shifter. The steering wheel had a crack in the deep blue plastic, a casualty of a chilly Minnesota winter morning. The ceiling cover was gone and flakes of the insulation would occasionally fall, covering me in off-white flecks. The third radio player was in the dash with a second set of speakers blaring in the back.

The backseat was always cluttered, filled with magazines, bags from trips to Target and empty pop cans that no matter how many times I cleaned out the car, someone would manage to leave one behind. The Mexican blanket that had lined the blue interior had been folded up neatly and sat in the trunk next to the jumper cables I had yet to learn how to operate.

For all the times I explained how this Nova did not have power steering and how a passenger side mirror is a convenience and that is why one does not exist, I was always proud of the car. The brakes squeaked even when they worked perfectly. I replaced brake lights, filled clutch and brake fluid, checked the oil (but never changed myself), filled anti-freeze/coolant, and refilled windshield wiper fluid. The wipers would always stop working when it rained and the motor was replaced not long before that car made its way to the happy junkyard in the sky. I put up with the screeching sound for a year and the rope tied to the driver side wiper helped me through an entire winter.

The car had many problems, but it was a great first car. I may have had to replace the clutch and have the radiator fixed. I changed 8 flat tires on that car in one summer (bad rims and slow leaks) and I had to replace the joint in the steering wheel once. It wasn’t until the carburetor finally decided that humid days were the days to call in sick that I decided to purchase a new vehicle. That was when Foxy came into play. I’ve been lucky with the cars I’ve had. Sure, none of them have been perfect (except my current car – there are no problems yet, but then it is still under warranty and has less than 10,000 miles on it), but they’ve been fun to drive. I wouldn’t trade the memories of my first car for anything. It was a great car, the tank that did more damage to the truck when I backed out a bit too far. It held its own against the tractor and made a few road trips with my friends and I. I taught people to drive in this car. I learned how to drive in this car. I had to replace the struts and the rotors. As much as I put into this car, it gave back. There are memories from high school and they all have something to do with this car. Yeah, I still love it.