Nine years ago, I got my first car.
Here’s a picture of me with it, although this picture was taken sometime in early 2004. Notice
the vast amounts of nothingness Williamsburg County‘s landscape in the background.
Or, I guess I should say, my dad bought me my first car. The funny thing was that it was a complete surprise. My dad drove up to my high school to pick me up in the car. Of course, I didn’t see him in the car because I was looking for my dad’s truck in the car line, not my dad himself, so he had to park the get and get out and tell me to come to the car. So yeah, I had no clue what was going on or why he was driving another car until I got in the car.
I hadn’t asked for a car. I hadn’t really thought about a car very much. I didn’t even have a driver’s license. Or a driver’s permit, for that matter. My mom had been teaching me how to drive in her champagne-colored Mercury Grand Marquis the summer before, but I think my dad knew that it wouldn’t be cool for a 15-year-old to be learning how to drive in a glorified Grandma-mobile.
After getting my permit a few months later, going through driver’s ed and several near wrecks with a bunch of dudes (I was the only female in my driver’s ed group), and three trips to the Kingstree DMV before I finally passed the driver’s license test, I realized just how much I loved the car.
One thing I learned about the DMV is that you never tell anyone you’re going to try for your license. I learned this fact I failed the test the first time and went to school the next day, and my band director asked to see my new license. Being 16, I burst into tears- which frequently happened with high school band, so this guy was used to it. It was a tear-filled week because I cried through dinner at Huddle House that night (we have slim offerings of restaurants in Kingstree, but at least my parents took me to get food) and the whole way home from the DMV, which was a 25 minute drive. I’m pretty sure I cried some that night in my room too.
Man, I admire my parents for sticking with me when I was between the ages of 12 and 17. I was a good kid who didn’t get into much trouble, but those were some difficult, tear-filled times. No wonder I almost never cry anymore- my tear ducts are probably drained dry. I wouldn’t doubt that my mom’s aren’t either.
Well, needless to say, I finally passed my driver’s test on the third try. I guess the third time really was a charm, and I started driving to school. I was the first out of my friends to have a car and to start driving to school (most of my friends were younger than me). Even though my car was 7 years old, I drove it around town (and they rode, but don’t tell my parents) like it was brand new, right off the lot.
It meant that much to me. I had a cross-shaped, beaded air freshener on the rear-view mirror, and funky Hawaiian print seat covers. Everyone loved those seat covers, too! That car just begged to be driven to Myrtle Beach, but my mom would’ve flipped.
When I went off to college, my parents initially didn’t let me take my car to campus, but when I turned 18, they let me take it back after Fall Break. I think they were worried about me getting good nutrition because the dining hall nauseated me ever since I got sick there in Week 3 of my first semester at college. With my car, I no longer had to brave 4 lanes of traffic to walk to Subway or Shell and I could drive to… Taco Bell.
Burritos, Burger King, and Bojangles = the staples of my college existence for the next 4 years.
The Probe and I had some awesome times together. Midnight trips for food or to Wal-Mart, trips to the mall, driving across campus to class on cold mornings when I didn’t want to walk. But, around my senior year, our times weren’t as awesome anymore. The car was well… getting old, as cars do. Even though I looked and ran much better after surviving my awkward teenage years, my car didn’t.
So, in September ’06, as a senior at FMU, I traded her in. She’d been with me longer than most all of my friends had- especially with going to college. I traded her in and used money from an inheritance I received to get a 2001 Honda Accord– which I’m still driving and I love.
I still do miss my Ford Probe sometimes. My car alarm went off like crazy the other day until I could shut it off- that was never a problem with the Probe. I forgot to close my moon roof last night and got into a freezing cold car this morning- and again, this just didn’t happen with the Probe.
Occasionally I see a car like it on the road, and it makes me nostalgic (I actually saw a blue Ford Probe, probably only a year newer than my old one, the other day when I was at the FMU campus). My nice, mature, white Honda has been with me through internships, graduation, job interviews, moving out, an engagement, and well, early adulthood. It’s a great, dependable car.
But sometimes, I don’t want mature and dependable- sometimes I long for the days of being a carefree, irresponsible, immature kid.
Hawaiian print seat covers and all.