Friday, June 20, 2008

Counter Culture

We tend to get attached to material items in our lives, e.g. home, car, shoes, etc. for whatever reason. I get attached to my cars. I've had 4 in my driving lifetime, my first being my grandfather's 75 Chevy Malibu with the vinyl bench seats and 8-track stereo. I loved that car even when I had to use a towel on the seats in the summer or suffer 3rd degree burns on the backs of my legs.

My most favorite car was my 94 Nissan Sentra. I never named her, but we went through thick and thin together. Bought her in 96 with 91K miles on it (yes, it was only 2 years old and the previous owner drove the heck out of that car). I took her to NYC and she was a trooper through the brutal winters and mild summers. Brought her back to Houston in 2001 and we made it almost 10 years. Until 2006, some jerk backed into her. So I passed her on to a friend, I thought would take care of her. I cried when she left. I didn't even clean it out - I just let her go in tact. Well sadly enough, I received a call 2 months ago that my friend sold her for scrap. 270K miles later, she's gone - for good. I said my peace and she will never be replaced.

However, I now have Beanie, my big 1981 reddish brown 240 Volvo, with all his/her quirks. I think Beanie is a tranny - some days she acts like a girl and some days the man side comes out. The sunroof works for a while, then gets stuck. The windshield leaks. The glove compartment flies open unannounced. But all in all, Beanie's a great Volvo.

Have given all this background info, it's dawned on me that I have now entered into a counterculture of folks who drive the big box on wheels, those Balbo owners. We take so much flack because it's not the sexiest car on the road, but I tell you what - Beanie can handle a turn at 60-65 mph better than a mustang. We are laughed at because, yes it's essentially a box, but it is the safest car without airbags on the road. When you own a real Volvo (before Ford purchased them), other Volvo drivers look out for you, they honk, they flash their lights, all in greeting other Volvo drivers. It's an equivalent to a secret handshake.

So laugh all you want at my old car. But Beanie is mine, mine, mine - I wont trade her for anything in the world (not even that 2008 Nissan Altmia Coupe in Ruby Red). And even though I can't race you at 80 mph on the straight-a-way, I can still get you on the curve when you have to brake and downshift.

I love my Beanie!

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