Jan 17, 2009

Thur: I miss my first car

I mean I wouldn’t trade in my current car for it, but that first car always creates for itself a halo effect as time goes on. Every single nuance and quirk grows a kind of charm that is remembered with a smile rather than the actual muttering and scowl that accompanied things like radio’s that have a mind of their own or engines that would only start if you pumped the gas that special way. It’s surprising how quickly those memories change. Anyway here’s a couple of short memories I have about my first car a 1988 Mitsubishi Starion.

I remember driving through my neighborhood stalling at stop sign and on hills while I tried to get the hang of driving stick. I’m not exactly sure why I wanted my first car to be a manual transmission. Maybe it was because the cars in videogames that were manual always went faster, or more likely because growing up my Dad owned a couple cars that were stick and they were always much more fun to ride in. Either way I grew to really like it, and hopefully never have a car without it.

I remember driving in the rain with it and regularly hydroplaning on turns.

I remember driving home from east mesa with my brother while not being able to take my foot off the gas otherwise it would die (there was a mechanical issue). So at every stoplight people would get the idea that we wanted to race because I was revving my engine, it probably also didn’t help that there were a couple times we inadvertently peeled out when the light turned green.

I remember the AC always read 67 degrees, and if you put it any higher the heater automatically turned on.

I remember the automatic seat belts always knocking the coffee or soda out my hands whenever I started the car.

I remember the bubblegum smell in the middleconsole.

I remember having a ton of semi-random things in my back seat and trunk because it was a new place to keep stuff.

I remember being in that car the first time I was pulled over. I was bringing someone in my family something they needed and had forgot at home so I was in a bit of a hurry. Also I had once heard somewhere that there was no speed limits on the on and off ramps of freeways. Long story short I ended up getting a lengthy and very um... passionate lecture from a Patrolman explaining that on-ramps aren’t like international waters and the law does apply to them, driving that fast will only get people killed (he including a startling amount of anecdotal evidence to support this claim), and how it was also fully within the law to suspend me till I was 18 and take my car. After all the threats he finally let me go with a warning for which I was immensely grateful.

I remember learning how to change the oil on it, and now realizing that that particular car had the oil filter in a crazy hard to reach spot.

I remember the radio sometimes deciding that it was tired and wanting to play at a much lower volume for no real reason.

I remember thinking that flip-up headlights were actually really cool.

I feel like the first anything is always special. The first movie you see at a theatre, the first book you read, your first house, first school, and of course your first car. The idea of the first car is so iconic, talk to any sociology student and they give you 50 reasons for that mostly having to do with the realization of independence, freedom, a larger world etc. I’m not really into examining things that closely and attributing grand ideals to them. I do know that I will always remember my first car. It’s was my interactive classroom for 98.9% of my current mechanical knowledge, the facilitator of a ton of memories, my first real space to call my own, and the stick I will measure every car after it.

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