Ah, my first car. Well, technically my only car, since I haven’t owned a car since I moved abroad. I can still remember the feeling of freedom the first time I put the keys in the ignition and drove down the driveway. I think I experience a little bit of that feeling every time I sign up for the job fair: Who knows where I’ll end up this time?
Anyway, back to my first car:
Ah, the old Honda. She’s still sitting in my parent’s driveway if you can believe that. She was first purchased by my parents back in 1991 as a replacement to our Oldsmobile that got crushed under a tree in the Branchville train station parking lot (that was quite a sight). I remember the first time my mom picked me up in the new car after cheerleading practice. I thought that car was so cool. Since 1991 was my freshman year of high school, I wasn’t driving yet, but even back then I knew that this car would someday be mine. There was just something about the 2-door style (our old car was a 4-door) and that new car smell that had me entranced at first sight. (You would think from this story that this was the first new car my parents had purchased during my lifetime, but it wasn’t. There was just something special about this one).
The Honda was the car I learned to drive in. And of course, I took my driving test in the Honda (and boy did I get lucky on that one – they never asked me to parallel park. To this day, I’m not confident I could do it if I needed to). The Honda took me back and forth to work every day as soon as I got my license. The Honda whisked me across the wilds of Redding, CT into the unknown territory of Easton, CT (my high school was so small that we shared with the neighboring town, but we each had separate elementary and middle schools). Naturally, I had my first car accident in the Honda (one of those special kind of accidents where there was no other car, just me. I kind of drove into a rock. Thankfully there was very little damage to the car, unfortunately I can’t say the same about my reputation).
Eventually, the Honda transported me to some real freedom up at the University of Connecticut (a 2-hour drive, often made in 1 hour). One time I was so enraged at someone passing me on the left (I was in the left-lane and the other guy was in the left-side emergency break-down lane) that I actually made it up to 125mph. That was a great day for the Honda.
Of course, the Honda stayed with me in Manchester, CT (in the best apartment ever!) when I graduated college and worked in Farmington, CT. We traveled together through Hartford’s pathetic excuse for “rush hour” traffic. And, of course, we got into another little car accident right outside of my apartment. This time the car in front of me slammed on their brakes after re-starting at a stop sign. The driver was an Eastern European guy obviously looking to scam an American insurance company into a big pay-out. He harassed me at home for about 2 months and then gave up. It was very strange. I didn’t even realize what he was doing until he stopped calling.
To this day, the Honda is the car I drive when I’m visiting my parents. Even though she’s a bit temperamental (to say the least) now, and often refuses to start after being parked for over a half hour, just sitting behind that steering wheel brings me right back to 16 – blasting my Nine Inch Nails and R.E.M as I drive around CT. It’s a little embarrassing now as an adult when I pull into a parking lot with the music blaring, but there’s just something about the Honda that compels me to do it. I just love that car.