When I saw my first car for the first time, it wasn’t love at first sight. Anxious to be free from the grasp of my parents’ control, I looked forward to getting behind the wheel of their first ride.
But I had a jalopy.
My baby-blue, 1992 Ford Escort with rust stains above the wheels and a haphazard hatchback didn’t bring me the joy a first car should. Seeing it for the first time, I stood deflated, eyeing the squat vehicle up and down with disgust.
The seats, stained with use, reeked of old food. It lacked power steering, power locks, power anything — except power seat belts.
If anything, the car forced its riders into safety with the slow humming of a seat belt automatically clicking into place. My vision for my first car certainly excluded a power safety device. What an embarrassment.
Standing in my driveway looking at the car — which I scarcely imagined could even make to the end of the block — I imagined rolling up to school to my classmates’ jeers and whispers. Teens could be so cruel and this car would only add fuel to the fire.
What made the car worse was that it sat in the shadow of the ghost of what was supposed to be my first car.
Imagine a white stallion, perfect, pure. That was supposed to be my first car. My dad planned to purchase a brand new truck. I would get the crisp white, extended-cab pickup bound to become a hand-me-down.
In short, the truck was sexy. And I wanted it. I envisioned rolling up to school with the windows down, everyone turning their heads to see who was driving that beauty. The truck would have been the vehicle to freedom.
The vision of the run-down Escort crushed my teenage fantasy and my thirst for the road.
The white stallion was stolen, taken in the middle of the night off the driveway outside my bedroom window by ruthless, teen ego killers. My mom asked the morning after where the truck was. My dad looked outside, around the block and down the street.
I wouldn’t cart my friends around in the cool vehicle. I wouldn’t be cool.
I resigned myself to this fate. Eventually, I started driving the Escort, picking my friends up one day for some fun.
I held my breath as they saw the car for the first time. They silently climbed in and as we headed to the movies, they broke out in shouts and laughs.
“This is so cool!”
And in an instant, the pitiful blue baby became the stallion, and me, it’s driver.