It was with a bit of a sad heart that this week, after ten years and 150k miles of faithful service, I finally had to pick an upgrade to replace Ol’ Bessie. She’s been a reliable chariot indeed, with only one spectacular breakdown near the end; and even then she had the good sense to snap her serpentine belt right in front of the Plow and Hearth outlet.
Fear not friends, Bessie will now live out her years down at the lake, housed in a spacious and clean garage and saved for weekends tooling around, hauling boats and what-nots. I see many good years ahead of her.
Isn’t it fascinating how attached we become to our cars? Dr. Charles Kenny, a consumer psychologist, has studied car buyers and has noted that similar to the “you are what you eat” mantra, many of us also believe that we are what we drive. Do you think this is true? I would like to believe that if money were no object, a car that would truly reflect my personality would be an Aston Martin, circa 1964, made famous by James Bond. Vintage, makes an entrance, with a little kick under the hood – yep, I could live with that being my “car avatar” (av·a·tar – an incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea). It might be the only thing I would ever have in common with James Bond.
For me, cars serve as as my “automotive time stamps.” I’m amazed that I can instantly connect important periods in my life to the car I was driving at the time. For example:
- High School: my mom’s Chevy Malibu … because I couldn’t afford my own car! When I could talk Mom into letting me borrow her ride, I sure did have some fun back in South Florida in the late 70s.
- Attending College: a beat-up “POS” 1974 Plymouth Duster, AKA “the Beige Bomber.” That car, which I bought used, was a death-trap; with a wide bench seat across the front. The steering was shot and the carburetor stuck so badly that you had to use the brake as a clutch. But, it was my very first car and it carted me and my friends around Tallahassee and got us into more than our fair share of fabulous trouble. It’s probably a classic now, if it didn’t end up on the junk heap.
- Raising My Son: my 1993 Ford Explorer – “Dora.” Jimmy was just two years old when I bought this, my first ever new car. Twenty years later I can still picture how excited he was to be riding “up high!”
Regarding Jimmy, I also equate Ol’ Bessie to his high school years, when we depended on her to carry him to band practices and football games as well as a few “activities” that I’m sure it’s better we never know about.
I find myself now here in 2013, with this new automotive time stamp in my driveway. It sure is pretty and I’ve already named it “Junior.” It’s not that Aston Martin, but, the Subaru seems to also fit. Just thinking about all the adventures I’ll have driving Junior over this next decade puts a smile on my face. I wonder what Dr. Kenny would say about this recent purchase as a reflection of my personality… Hmmmm…