When I saw the beautiful new BMW that my attractive friend recently bought, it made me realize that I’m too sexy for every vehicle I’ve ever owned.
My first car was a double hand-me-down: a tan-colored 1970 Ford Custom (4-door automatic), owned initially by my father, then by my brother. The Custom was essentially a stripped-down cop-car. It was built like a small tank, and it was about as sexy as Andy Griffith.
My second car was another hand-me-down, but only owned once, by my brother. It was a beige, 2-door 1980 Ford Escort, upon which I first learned to drive a standard transmission. I remember bucking and jerking around an elementary school parking lot, trying to get the hang of “the stick.” I’d been at it for a month, but only around town, when I decided to visit a friend in Albany. Initially, I got stuck in rush-hour traffic in Hartford. I remember feeling the blood rise up my neck towards the crown of my head as I worried how I’d do in the stop-and-go flow. I actually drove well, and flew up towards Albany. But when I got to the toll booths at the NY state line, I lost my nerve. I bucked, jerked, and screeched all the way towards a very frightened toll booth worker, as the driver of a tractor-trailer behind me laid on his horn, because, apparently, he’d had about enough. (Hey, Brother Trucker from my past, that helped so much. Thank you.)
I bought my third car brand-new: a gunmetal gray, 1990 2-door standard transmission Nissan Sentra. It looked like a stripped-down BMW, if you squinted your eyes, and then shut them, and then imagined a BMW. It was a fine car, but I had an unpleasant purchasing experience at a slimy dealership. I won’t say where (mostly because I can’t remember), but it was in Hartford. The car ran great, and I finally sold it in the summer of 1999, to an Indian guy, who used a screwdriver as a stethoscope on the engine while it was running to make sure it was “healthy.” While I stood in the rain. And was eight months pregnant. (My response was, “What the hell are you doing? Either you want it or you don’t. Let’s get out of the rain.”)
When my son was very small, I drove us around in a white (4-door automatic) Oldsmobile Cutlass (a late 90’s model), that we purchased very cheaply from my husband’s Aunt Mary. It rode like a sailboat, and had a plush, red velvet interior. We cruised back and forth to Maine a number of times in that vehicle; it was like pulsing around in a giant womb. We eventually sold the Olds to a trailer park couple in Eastern CT, and they were so excited, I think they were planning to move into it.
The next car was another hand-me-down, albeit a very nice one; I loved that lavender-ish/silver 1992 (4-door automatic) Acura Vigor. They don’t make those anymore. It had been my in-laws’, it had black leather interior, and it was luxurious. I eventually had a minor fender-bender with the Vigor, and because it had depreciated so much, it was (heartbreakingly), totaled. (Part of being “too sexy for one’s car” includes it being officially totaled in a minor accident, which happened to me not once, but twice.)
Next came an immaculately maintained, dark purple (4-door automatic) 1998 Honda Accord sedan from Manchester Honda. It had relatively low mileage and was coming off-lease, previously owned by a curmudgeonly salesman with a three-mile commute to work. This was my first pleasant car-buying experience. The dealership had (and has) a “plain and simple” approach, offering their lowest, non-negotiable (and decent) price. (BTW they did not pay me to say this. But I will mention here that Manchester Honda also has a great service department. And that if they’d like to pay me for saying nice stuff, I’m open to it.) I don’t quite remember the disposition of this “eggplant” colored car. It may have gotten traded in for the purchase of one of the family cars; no one can seem to remember.
Enter the next car, which also got totaled in a very minor accident. It was a hand-me-down from my husband, a silver Honda Accord Hybrid (2002, 4-door automatic), which they also don’t make anymore. It was a lovely car. It was hit by a low-life in Hartford next to a construction site where a policeman was asleep, standing up. The cop appeared to be staring straight at me as the accident occurred, but claimed not to have seen it. The other driver didn’t yield to my right of way, and his jalopy lost its bumper as it rammed into, then backed off my car. It was pretty obvious who was at fault. If I’d had a gun, I might have shot someone that day, or later, on the day when my insurance company dropped me because the case had been mediated for so long. Definitely not sexy.
My current car is the only other car besides the Nissan that I bought new. But hey, it’s a humble 2012 Honda Civic sedan. And it’s brown. And it’s automatic transmission. And my bike rack has scratched up the trunk something awful. But I don’t care, because…I’m used to being too sexy for my car. I wouldn’t want to ever be upstaged by my vehicle.