so my friend T-Boi suggested this topic. I had considered “Alcohol” and “Booze”, and diverted from those. “C” was the first non-liquor-related letters, so I was going to go to my next sporty obsession (in the vein of biking) via “canoeing”. but T-Boi suggested “cars” — because, boy howdy, do I have some stories….
I got my driver’s permit when I was 16 (one year late) because I was scared of being behind the murdering beast called a “vehicle”. I learned to drive in my mom’s Kia Sephia and my dad’s Chevy truck, both of which were standards.
so, a year later when I took my driver’s license test, they have me hop in this stupid little PT Cruiser (circa 2003). and it was an automatic. I sat int he driver’s seat thinking, “okay, James, you’ve written many reports on cars and how they work because of how much you love them, so just think — how do automatics work — do should you do to start it??” but before I finished, the tester asks, “are you okay?”
“yeah, I’m fine,” I answer. “I, uh … I just don’t know how to start it.”
“YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO START A CAR?!?!” and it was evident the woman thought she was going to die in the next ten minutes.
“no, no, no. I just, uh … I don’t know how to start an automatic. I’ve only driven standards.”
“….” SHE STARED AT ME FOR-FUCKING-EVER. “you drive a standard????”
“oh.” she recovered. “you just crank it.”
“yeah, just crank it. just hold the brakes and turn the key. you keep it in the same gear the whole time.”
“the SAME GEAR???”
I do so. and the whole time I was driving, I would occasionally whisper not-so-quietly, “this is SO AWESOME, and so easy.”
anyway. so that’s how I got my license.
so I get my first car. which is *actually* just an excuse for my parents to buy a van. it was 1990 Plymouth Grand Voyager (again, this was in 2003, so it was already 13-years-old). it looked like this, KINDA:
the difference is that mine wasn’t pretty white with the wood-grain; it was piss-yellow with a similarly stained wood-grain. ::sighs::
I named her the Dragon, and decorated her with appropriate stickers and interior pieces. however, come my early college years, I was the person to drive everyone around. (I lived in one city, worked in a city over 90 minutes south from my home,went to school between the two, and dated a guy 60 minutes north of my home. also, on every road trip, I was the driver because my van held the most people. so yeah, I was always the driver.) as such, that also meant on small trips, I was still the fucking driver. my dad is a professional 18-wheeler driver. he’s been doing it since I could walk. so watching him growing up, and learning from him — driving is a first-nature experience to me. all of these things combined meant I WAS ALWAYS THE DRIVER. that also meant I always drove. which meant I got rather bored of driving quickly. which meant I needed to make it interesting.
I eventually mastered many tricks in this van, though my majestic drifting of it got me the most attention. fans called her the Daring (or Dangerous) Dragon; others called her the Death Machine. either way, she was rather famous.
her door fell of while driving at one point; she caught on fire several times; she would randomly stop in the middle of traffic; speed limits were optional; we learned that though the specs said she topped out at 100mph, that wasn’t at all true; et cetera, et cetera. she was my freedom. she was how I managed my manias. (but oh jebus, the speeding tickets!!)
eventually she died. my next car was a Honda Civic something-X. sedan, no sun-roof. but Honda and long-lasting. Belle Star, was her name. bright red beauty. cowboy themed shit everywhere. she was gorgeous. she was the first vehicle *I* owned. the van technically was a family vehicle. but Belle was fucking mine.
after many, many years, she went inactive after an accident. but we still use her for parts, because overall she’s still good.
for the last few years (Feb 2012 – last week), I had my 1998 Honda Civic XS (had a sunroof) — the Chameleon. he was green, but he would look black in other lights. he was my second male vehicle (my temporary motorcycle was Baldr). he even had his own theme-song: “Don’t Bother None” from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. he taught me to just let go and move on.
but he died just last week. um, due to stuff and things. (my dad’s mechanic friend says it was because my buddy down-shifting on him poorly. I think a large part of the problem is that it’s a fucking 17-year-old car with a shit-ton of miles on it!!! but you know, whatever, Daddy always knows best.)
anyway. so now all I have is my bike; and occasionally borrowing Brian or my mom.
but yeah, that was much less interesting than I planned. I wanted to tell about all the cars-blowing-up and random-pieces-falling-off and doors-totally-not-staying-attached stories that I have. but honestly, that could be a novella in itself alone….