At some point during the past seven years, I know I’ve reported that when I was sixteen and the ink still wet on my driver’s license, I drove a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle directly, but completely unintentionally, into an oak.
The archery, so to speak, was spectacular, as the front of the car was completely and symmetrically wrapped around the trunk of the tree.
At the time, I was puzzled by my father’s complete lack of anger that I had destroyed the car. It truly did not occur to me that he was only profoundly grateful that I had not died in the crash, which was died-worthy.
The car was replaced without much to-do, and I ended up with a nifty scar in my right eyebrow. Nothing like a Prussian saber-style one on my cheek, but still pretty good for a sixteen year-old.
Fast forward to today. I’m driving the quintessential old-man car, a Big White 2002 Buick, which we inherited from Stephen’s mother in 2004. The legendary used car salesman’s pitch ‘This car was previously owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church’? That’s the car.
In 2004, I had just given away my Honda Accord to my nephew who was going through a nasty divorce. For insurance purposes, I guess, both their cars were in his wife’s name, and she said, ‘You don’t have a car’.
The Big White Buick came with no miles to speak of on the odometer, and four ruined tires with ten pounds of air pressure in each. We decided that I’d drive it until we decided with what to replace the Accord.
Sloth and the memory of the dreaded car salesman experience have kept me behind the wheel of the Big White Buick.
The car is terribly comfortable and it was free, so what’s not to like? Only this. Even with no traffic behind me, drivers will pull out in front of me from side streets. I’ve reasoned that they decide the old codger couldn’t possibly be going fast enough hit them — or, they do not want to get behind the old coot because he’s probably going twenty miles an hour.
I’ve never driven a large car like the Big White Buick before. My previous vehicles: a brand new 1963 Beetle to replace the smashed one, a Karmann Ghia, a small Volvo, a Honda Civic, and the Accord.
The Karmann Ghia was a love affair which ended after ten years. Picking up a friend from the airport in the wee hours of the morning, a suicidal deer leapt into our path, followed much later by two separate large transport trucks sideswiping the car on two separate occasions.
I kept a souvenir.
I think I should mention in closing that the 1983 Civic I owned, I also destroyed, this time in an Interstate Highway ‘mishap’ of the no-survivors caliber. Unlike the unlucky Beetle, not my fault, State Patrol certified, thank you.
Be that as it may, since there was a neat thirty year span between my first destruction of an automobile and the second, if I stay on schedule, the next one is due in 2023.
When I do get around to replacing the Big White Buick, whatdaya think?