16 April 2013


I grew up in a family where cars were pretty plain: a little pick-up here, a sedan there, a mini van once, and other larger farm/work type pickups.  We used them for getting from point A to point B. They weren't showy, fancy, flashy, or fun. They were just cars.  

But when I was 16, right before my senior year, I got my very first car: Marvin.  He was a $700 1970 Ford Maverick with 30,000 miles, a vinyl bench seat in the front, and a manual transmission with shift column by the steering wheel. He was light brown and beautiful in his own special way. A vintage God.

Marvin was my first, and only, love affair with a car. I loved him because he was mine, because he gave me a little bit of freedom and independence. I could go to the library when I wanted, didn't have to ride the school bus anymore, could take my friends shopping with me, and best of all, I could go on solitary evening drives to the lake or through the rolling hills covered in orchards. Marvin was the best.  Then, after two years of driving bliss, the steering column broke and I couldn't afford to fix it.  I had to sell Marvin and my new-found love of cars dwindled.  I never named a car again.

Then along came Matt.

Matt has had many love affairs with cars. He grew up in a family where cars were fun, flashy, special.  His dad bought Corvette after Corvette, motorcycle after motorcycle, new truck after new truck--you get the idea.  They went to car shows, had friends with classic cars, bought and sold classic cars at auctions. Cars were more than vehicles, they were a part of life.  
And this is something I've had to embrace--I'm part of the family, and part of the family means getting to know and love cars. I go to car shows, let Matt visit car lots to peek at brand new models and quiz the salespeople, and go out of our way on vacation to make sure we can walk past exotic cars if we see them parked on the street. Matt spotted this yellow Ferrari in New Orleans from several blocks away and we made a mad dash to take a photo of it. (It started to rain shortly after this photo was taken---shame on that Ferrari's owner.)
We subscribe to Car and Driver and Motor Week, love Top Gear, and drive Ferraris (for a very rare, special treat).  Yes, I have somehow become part of the car world--it wasn't easy, but after 8 years, I've grown to {almost} love it.  

That's me in an Aston Martin, sans 007.

Now, don't expect me to know anything about the internal workings of cars--I can tell you the makes and models, approximate price, and if I think they're pretty or not, with the latter being most important. I'm still shallow in that regard. But, I can talk to you somewhat intelligently about cars and know a little bit about what I'm saying. I'll ooh and aah over a new model or lovely wood-trimmed interior.  I'll marvel at the color options and 0-60 speed capabilities.  Yes, I can do all that. But no matter how many exotic, expensive, beautiful cars I see or sit in or drive or learn about, they will never be Marvin.  They will never embrace the epitome of teenage wanderings, freedom, and first loves. They might come close, though. 

Maybe someday I'll fall in love with another car, a car fit for a name, a car worth more in memories and feelings than in monetary value. 

Just maybe.

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