Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Cars of My Life

I first learned to drive with my Dad's Chevrolet Chevelle in the mid 1980s. It was long, it was blue, and towards the end of its existence it belched out blue exhaust smoke at random. I remember many afternoons with my Dad practicing parallel parking over and over between two traffic cones.

Our family traded up from the Chevelle into a generic Chevrolet conversion van, complete with a manual sliding door and a ladder to get to the roof. We drove this car across the country, wearing out its single cassette player. I was excited when I drove for a few hours on those long rides.

When I left for college and beyond, I inherited the family sedan, a blue Nissan Sentra. (My parents bought a red Sentra to replace it.) I shared the car with my wife in the 1990s after we moved to the suburbs. I drove the Sentra until small holes started to emerge in the trunk and back-seat wheel wells due to rust.

In 2000, using a little dot-com money, I bought a used Audi A4. It remains my favorite car. It was sleek yet muscular. I loved that you could lower the windows by rotating the key counter-clockwise in the door lock. I also loved its red interior lights. I gave up the car after one too many engine start problems and a persistent water leak.

In 2006, I bought a Subaru Legacy. This car is completely nondescript but is thoroughly reliable. The all-wheel drive has paid for itself over many winters up and down our hilly neighborhood. I taught my daughter how to drive with this car. It might not be flashy, but as long as it's drivable, I'll be keeping it.