Wednesday, October 08, 2008

first car and bumper sticker prophecy

A car post by Dr. Deb reminded me of my first car. A Datsun 210 hatchback, circa 1980, powder blue, stick shift.
I had driven a stick only briefly when I first learned to drive. I was probably 15 years old. I was on vacation in Louisiana. One of my aunts took me out in her little hatchback (AMC Hornet, maybe?). I jerked and sputtered my way around a high school parking lot until I sorta figured it out.
It wasn't until the summer before my junior year in college that my dad and I picked out my first car, the Datsun hatchback. Dad drew the short straw and we rode around my little hometown as I tried to remember how to maneuver a stick. Until that point, I had been driving my mom's 79 Monte Carlo (also powder blue, as it happened -- it was a popular color in 70's). The Monte Carlo was a standard so I was more than a little rusty on a stick.
I did fine as long as we were moving. You know how that goes. My dad was patient. I give him that. He gripped the passenger door handle and through gritted teeth told me to let out the clutch slowly while simultaneously and slowly giving it a little gas. It was no good. I stalled out at least a hundred times in front of the post office. We're talking very small town post office right smack dab on Main Street. Saturday morning. Entertaining the townsfolk as they watched the beet red girl try to pull out into traffic. I remember the sweat dripping down my arms and onto the stick shift. "I am letting it out slowly, Dad!"

But once I figured it out, once I got over the learning curve, that was all she wrote. I loved that car. I loved shifting gears. I loved the freedom. No more borrowing from the 'rents. I always had a ride. I was the ride.

A funny aside. I did my undergrad in Pennsylvania. It was spring break of my senior year when I visited Austin for the first time. I had never heard of Austin, barely knew Texas was on the map other than the fact that Astroland was located there (never mind that Astroland is now located in Coney Island. Or was. WTF?!?)
But back to Texas. Texas just wasn't on my map at that time. But I loved Austin and I bought this sticker in the airport.
The sticker stayed on my Datsun until I sold it, several years later. Prophetic, huh?

What was your first car?

First bumper sticker?


Heather said...

Oh my gosh, this is a great story.

My first car was a maroon 1981 Buick LeSabre. It was my grandparents' car that they gave to me when I was in college. It had an 8-track player and they gave me all the cassette to go with the car, so I chugged down the road driving that car from Florida to Waco listening to the Oak Ridge Boys and Dolly Parton. Oh yeah.

Madge said...

i don't remember my first bumper sticker, but i sure remember my first car. his name was bert. little toyota tercel. green. floor boards rusted out. stick shift. i loved that car. my first true taste of freedom, getting away from a house i needed to get away from.

Eudae-mamia said...

Ugh, your experience with your Dad sounds like the one I had just about a month ago with my hubby. I DON'T do standard!

First car - a 1984 white Plymouth Horizon. We called it the "rolling coffin." I really don't know what my parents were thinking. But it totally makes me appreciate the car I drive now!

Bumper sticker was Texas A&M. I didn't dare put my sorority letters on it for fear they'd pull my pledge pin.


P.S. it's AstroWorld, and as far as I know, unless Ike washed it out into the Gulf, I'm pretty sure it's in Houston ;-).

AnnD said...

I had a 1985 Mercury Cougar. It was blue. I never had bumper stickers on any of my cars though.

Lisa Milton said...

I had one of those white & blue 210s.

Ah, memories.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

'64 Volkswagen Bug. No bumper stickers, but I did have an action figure (Jon from CHiPS) hanging from a noose made from an Izod Lacoste shoelace.

phd in yogurtry said...

heather -- an 8-track player? You were truly cruising in style!

madge -- ah, the Tercel did rival the 210!

eudae -- the rolling coffin? that's a great car name!

ann -- a luxury car, by my standards : )

lisa -- the sedan? my best friend drove a yellow/tan B210 sedan. we were almost matching.

jenn -- bugs were the best hippie cars. my aunt had one. I can still remember bopping all over town in her yellow one.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Well, I've never had a bumper sticker.

But my first car, well my girlfriend bought it, was a Ford Cortina in dented grey. It had no front door locks so we had to hook a piece of thread round the knob things on the doors, shut the doors with the thread hanging down outside and pull those up from outside to get in. It never started anyway so I don't know why we bothered to lock it really. But I loved that car. It's number plate was DVS 219T so he was always known as Devious.

I've never driven a Datsun strangely enough. Not sure I want to either!!!

Health Psych said...

Tormado Red VW Polo, manual (is that what you call a stick-shift?), loved it to bits. First and only bumper stick was an Aussie flag - was in the process of applying to emigrate here. Oh, and named Kylie because of the number plate..not because of any penchant for wearing gold hotpants!