New Car, New MeI have given up the "luxury" of a 4WD standard cab pickup for the practicality of a fuel-efficient sedan. No more stuffing the contents of my life behind 2 bucket seats, sometimes having to move the passenger seat forward to stuff more crap behind. No more phone calls from my beloved friends to help them move!! Hip hip hooray!! I now have four doors, a moonroof, power locks/windows/side view mirrors and, best of all- TRUNK!!! It's like another ROOM!
My "new" car is not NEW, but it is new to me.
This is the first time I've had the opportunity to PICK OUT my own vehicle. I have been lucky enough to have had a step father and a father to provide my previous vehicles for me: My first car, Honey, a 1981 fuel-injected Volkswagen Jetta (compliments of Larry, my ex-step dad.) My second was a 1991 Toyota pickup, Lucy. (Compliments of Dad when I graduated from high school. I wrecked it shortly after moving to Portland.) My third was a 1996 Toyota Tacoma, Cooter. (Also thanks to Dad. He bought it and "traded" me for my wrecked (but completely drivable!) 1991 pickup which he fixed and then sold to my grandfather.) He always bought me what HE wanted or what he wanted ME to have. I will have a hard time letting go of Cooter when he sells, mostly because it was a gift from dad.
For the past 2 years or so I have known that I didn't prefer my pickup. When I went home in spring of 2004, Dad and I were shopping for cars for me. It makes me feel better that he knew that I wanted something else before he passed away. I don't feel as if I am betraying him by selling the vehicle he purchased for me and the vehicle that I am so grateful for.
I do believe that cars become a part of you though, they match something about you or your personality or vice versa. I definitely identified with the 4WD pickup trucks, they just aren't necessary here in Portland. Montana and for college, yes. Portland without a house to remodel, no. I always thought that my theory (I swear I came up with it before Honda did) about people "matching" their cars was only true when that person picked out their own car. That would have made all three of my previous cars have nothing in common with me. But now I think that is not true. I really loved all of my cars. I think that they defined (in some weird, perhaps backwards way) who I was/am.
The whole sedan thing is taking a fair amount of getting used to. The new car is so low to the ground compared to my pickup. No more driving up on curbs to park! I will really miss that... I was invincible. I could see everything from the cabs of my pickups too. I could see over the railing of the Ross Island bridge. I was looking over cars at their roofs and now I'm staring at exhaust pipes and I feel like I am blind most of the time. Today I went through my bank's drive-thru ATM. Now I know how midgets feel. Also today I filled up the gas tank. $25 for less than 9 gallons of gasoline. Yes, it was on "E." I used to pay up to $45 for a full (17 gallons) tank of gas in the pickup. It all makes sense as far as the math goes and all, but I guess I just thought all gas tanks were the same size or something. I am having a hard time getting used to shifting into 2nd gear at 15 mph... and I am not used to using 5th gear in town. Weird.
I somehow felt safer in my pickup too, though I'm not sure why. I guess I might be dead if I would have hit that deer (in 1996- driving home for my little sister's birth) with a Honda Civic. I suppose it is the height off the ground or something. I just felt more aware in a 4WD. I know Dad wanted me to have 4WD to be safer as well- winter driving in Montana and South Dakota can be brutal. I took so much for granted.
Whether you identify with your car or not, your car and the condition of it says something about you- how much money you have/don't have, how practical you are, if you are going through a mid-life crisis or not, what you do for fun, how much you care about your possessions, etc. You can sometimes even tell someone's political views, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and much more from the stickers on a car. Geez- I mean your car is like a billboard for who you are! Not that everyone is that observant to notice these things about strangers passing you in the adjacent lane but it is possible.
So I hereby shed the burly, tomboyish, outdoorsy, recreational reputation for the more practical and conservative image.
Oh yeah- if you know anyone who's interested in buying a 1996 Toyota Tacoma SX regular cab, let me know..... manual transmission with 118,000 miles. Tough character image included.
**Many, many thanks to my friend Larry for fielding all my stupid car shopping questions, for counseling me on what to look for and what questions to ask the seller and for replying promptly to all of my forwarded craigslist ads. Thank you! thank you! Thank you!***