I’ve driven a variety of cars over the years. Some were based on getting a really good deal, others were based more on appearance and the “cute factor”. In high school I drove an ’88 Oldsmobile Calais. I believe I got the car at 180,000 miles and it already barely worked. It was a car though, and I was 16, and for even more fun, it was a manual transmission which meant that I had to learn quickly how to drive a stick shift. Since I had just recently learned how to drive, neither me nor my father really wanted to go through the trauma of learning something else together, so he just gave me a crash course in how to drive one (and what I mean by that is, he literally DESCRIBED to me how to drive a stick shift) and then I was on my own. I never did learn how to start on a hill and I quickly learned the least hilly routes to drive around town to get places. (This would come in handy as a runner as well, I think.)
(It looked much like this)
After that my next car was a brief lived stint with a Chevrolet Celebrity which had belonged to my grandmother. I drove this car for a summer and then about a month in Cleveland until it got stolen from near my apartment overnight. It was recovered, but totaled. They had taken all of the wheels off among other things. I had to go pick up a few personal belongings from it at the salvage lot, and I recall it was a rainy day and the lot was very muddy. My poor car was hard to find because it was on it’s belly in the mud, sinking it. Literally, the WHEELS were gone. I do not mean simply tires.
Next my dad found a wonderful Toyota Camry for me to drive. I got this one in the low 100,000s I believe, and I think I had either just hit 200,000 miles or was about to (I unfortunately can’t recall—if only I’d had a blog then). This car lasted until a flash flood in Charlotte—I was out of town at a friend’s wedding and had left my car at home. My cat sitter (another friend) called me afterwards to tell me my car had been submerged in water for several hours. I called the insurance company to tell them my car had been in a flood, and they asked “is there anyone inside?” Um, no. I’d be calling 911. To be fair…not everybody would. The sight of my car being towed away with water pouring out of it was a sad sight.
I could keep going—Buick Regal, VW Jetta (another manual transmission which I learned to drive a little bit better than the Calais, and I allude to a strange story about it in this post), and currently I drive a Ford Focus.
But what sort of car would I want if I could get anything? I like small cars, and I like good gas mileage. When I bought the Focus I was into the Focus hatchback and the Toyota Yaris. The Focus I ended up with was again, a good deal (I am and will probably always be, a used car sort of person).
When I went to Italy in 2001 I was obsessed with the smart car—we saw them everywhere—I loved how tiny they were and how easy to park and maneuver. I also loved that they seemed to come from car vending machines.
I didn’t realize that they are owned by Mercedes Benz now. You can find a smart car dealer here if you aren’t familiar with them—I definitely see more around the US than before but we are such a “big car” country that’s it still pretty unusual. If I lived in a city and only needed it to get around or perhaps as a second car, I would love one. I think it would be really handy! (Blog readers, please send me a free car!)
What’s your favorite car? What do you drive? Do you know how to drive a manual transmission?