Monday, June 30, 2008

Cars I've Driven

As you can tell by the title, this will be the most boring post I’ve ever written. Don’t expect any twists and turns or surprise endings. It's not really for anyone's enjoyment but my own. It’s just that on my way home from work yesterday I started reminiscing, and then I started thinking in complete sentences, and the post pretty much wrote itself before I even sat down at a computer.

Jumping right into it – the first car I ever drove was an old Buick Park Avenue. My mom taught music classes to kids through a program called Kindermusik throughout my high school years, and this car was her “Kindermusik Mobile”. The license plate read “Kmusik”, which somehow became converted into “kussmika” within my circle of friends. The Kussmika became such an icon that I even staged a silly photo shoot with it at the end of my senior year before my mom sold it.

(I may or may not have handed out this picture to a select few people in place of a grad photo)

Whether or not I drove the Kussmika to school during my sophomore year depended on whether or not my mom had to teach classes that day. My other alternative for a while was the huge grey Suburban. Let me tell you something about the Suburban. It was 12 years old by the time I was ever able to drive it, but I still always thought of it as brand new. At some point it turned old and rusted and decrepit, and the doors were falling off, but I still always pictured myself as an excited four year old in the backseat, my dad taking us all for a spin around Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in the new car.

That thing was a monster, which came in handy at Douglas High. Right-of-way was determined strictly by the size of your vehicle, and traffic at that high school was INSANE. I personally witnessed at least two moderately severe accidents take place in the parking lot. A year after I graduated, I found out that they were putting a traffic circle into the busiest intersection at the high school, and I thought the whole world was going crazy. I wonder how that's going for them, by the way.

Due to the size of the Suburban, I could easily pile in 5 or 6-plus friends at lunchtime. Once, when we had about 8 of us in the car, the curious soul in the passenger seat decided to check out what was in the tape deck. My dad had just returned from a hunting trip in Utah, and we were blasted with duck quacking nonsense. I guess he’d been practicing his duck call during his trip home. I like to think it was playing for the full eight hours. Anyway, instead of turning the noise off, we turned it UP, rolled down the windows, and laughed until we cried.

The summer before my junior year, a guy that my dad knew died, and my dad bought everything in his garage, including a little old, blue Honda Accord, for $1,100. It sounds like he robbed the widow, but really, she was just looking to get rid of everything as soon as possible, and was beyond grateful that The General was willing to take it. The fact that he paid some money for it all was the icing on the cake.

That little car was for my own use. It wasn’t MY car, per se, but I didn’t have to share it with anyone else. It was the greatest – it was old, but it had power locks and windows and a moon roof. And pop-up lights, which I thought were the best thing ever. I learned to drive stick, and it made me feel important. No air conditioning, though, and that thing was a FURNACE. You’d open the door after it had been sitting in the summer sun for a few hours, and you could watch the heat waves escaping. The steering wheel was always too hot to touch, so I kept a pair of socks on the front seat to pull over my hands like mittens. Ridiculous. In the winter, though, the heater was so fierce that I could climb in the car in the morning with wet hair, aim the vents a certain way, and arrive at school with my hair perfectly blown-dry.

I hit a skunk in that poor car one Halloween, and it sprayed it so badly that my mom was certain the carcass was hung up in the undercarriage. A thorough search via flashlight proved otherwise, but that car smelled like skunk from then on for as long as I had it. The spray must have gone directly up some special pipe straight into the interior. I tried giving the whole thing a Febreze bath, and to this day, I can’t stand the smell of that stuff. It reminds me too much of skunk, because it didn’t eliminate the odor, it just mixed with it.

But few short months after the skunk incident, Corinne and Kyle got married, and little “Sugars” (as she came to be known) was passed on to them (after a harrowing drive through a mountain pass and California freeways, but that’s a long story. It goes like this - I had to drive the car to Vacaville, California from Gardnerville, Nevada, and it was really really scary. Okay, so it’s a short story. (Name that movie.))

Anyway, this particular car’s life chronicle has a tragic ending. Not long after they were married, Corinne and Kyle moved to New York City and attempted to bring the little car with them. It got broken into on a consistent basis, and once all the good stuff was gone, thieves got creative by stealing ice scrapers and chamois cloths and other ridiculous stuff, instead. It became such a hassle that when it got impounded, Corinne and Kyle just let the State have it.

The next car on my list is the Jeep. I drove the Jeep throughout the majority of my senior year. For some reason or another, The General was absolutely in LOVE with this car. It was given to him for Army use, and when it went up for auction a few years later, he drove all the way to California for the chance of placing the highest bid. And he succeeded. It was a miracle that he even let me drive it, really, and even more so after I ran it into the garage wall. It sounds like a bigger deal than it actually was…I was going about one mile an hour and scraped against the entrance. Just left a little bit of white paint on the black bumper, which was easy enough to conceal with Sharpie, but I totally underestimated his hawk-eyes because he came home from work and immediately demanded to know why there were black markings on the bumper. Like I said, it's a miracle I was even allowed near the Jeep after that incident. He loved that thing. It was a true mark of selflessness when he gave it to us for our wedding. Like handing over his first-born. We really got the great end of that deal, too, if you look at what WE ended up with compared to what Corinne and Kyle ended up with. An old skunky Honda. Sorry, guys. But not really.

Then, there's the Mazda. Jon's car. That thing is a champion. 350,000 kilometers on her and she's still going. We wouldn't blame her if she just up and died, but so far, she's still going. I asked Jon once what he'd do if he won the lottery, and he said he'd fix up the Maz really nicely...then he listed off all the fixes and upgrades he'd have done, and I'm absolutely certain that he's not even halfway kidding. Sure, he would get a new car, too, but he wouldn't get rid of the Maz. We will have that car until she's broken beyond all repair.

Anyway, those are my musings for the day. Sorry for the boring subject matter. You know I warned you.


  1. Nothing, not even your Suburb, will compare to the C-Wag!

  2. Jessie, thanks for stopping by my blog! I hope you visit often!

    My first car I drove was a 15 passenger van. I'm assuming I didn't kill anyone, but who knows!

    I was given a ginormous Buick by my grandparents when I turned 17, and the radiator was broken so I had to add water everytime I drove it.

    Fortunately, I've moved up in the world, and I now drive an awesome Hyundai!

  3. Looks like Kristina had a C-Wag too!

    P.S. Heck ya it's still you think my parents will ever get rid of that 15 passenger beast?!?

  4. The MAZ will probably be sent out to pasture soon, but on the brighter side of things, she has been from Palm Springs California to Ft McMurray Alberta. If anyone does not know where Alberta is located, they probably should have been educated there. "and the such, and the South Africa..."