Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just Drive, She Said

Growing up, driving my mother’s car was humiliating. She always had good, solid cars that were not even close to being cool. I remember trying to “cruise” in her Volare station wagon; embarrassing. It had a “Go, Dodger Blue” bumper sticker and a Jack-in-the-Box bobblehead on the radio antennae.

Years passed and I found myself in sudden need of a car after mine was totaled in an accident. By then my mother had passed away and my father still had her old car in the driveway: a white Buick Century. Needing transportation quickly, I bought it.

At first, tooling around town in the Buick was a little disconcerting; everyone else driving one was over the age of 65. But I found that it fit two car seats well, and the trunk was so big that we could buy our Christmas trees and lay them down sideways in it without having to tie them to the car. It was a great trunk for hauling boogie boards and bikes to the beach.

When the gauge approached 100,000 miles, my husband began making comments about looking around for a new car. I was sadly reluctant to let this last piece of my mom go. Driving around with my children listening to their kiddie tapes, not worrying about the sand and Cheetohs all over the seats was relaxing. And remembering my mother, who used to do the same thing with us as children, makes me feel that I am continuing the legacy of being a cool parent. In an uncool car.

As it turned out, an illegal driver who blew through a red light made the decision about whether or not to trade in the car a moot point.

A friend came to pick us up at the scene of the accident and said, “Don’t forget to get everything out of your car before they tow it.” Her eyes widened as the pile of sporting equipment, car seat and other miscellaneous items piled up on the sidewalk next to her car. We barely fit it all in to her sedan.

Now I drive a Trooper. It’s marginally cooler than a Buick, but of course my son, who is approaching driving age, is dying at the thought of having to drive it. He has his eye on sportier models. No matter. I blithely spread my Boy Scout sticker on the back window and, as a crowning touch, a Jack-in-the-Box bobblehead on the antennae. Perfect.

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