First boyfriend had an honest little work truck insured by the parents, a blue Mazda 4 speed stick shift. It always had firewood, or fishing nets or even a chainsaw in the back as we lived on a small northerly West coast island where wood heat was still the means we heated our homes. We lived close to the source and it was an amazing source. We were surrounded by water and forest and all that it offered. Neighbors were often a couple of acres away. I was a free range teenager. I count myself lucky for the experience.
1st boyfriend and I worked on driving and other skills on the back roads and dead ends, exploring all kinds of new territory, his and mine. I learned to drive after the last ferry that took the police home. Both truck and boyfriend were pretty reliable. There wasn’t anywhere for teenagers to go after dark so our social lives were in cars, illuminated by the dash board light. They were little recreation centers, on wheels. A 15 and 17 year old need places to hide, listen to the radio, smoke a joint and explore other curiosities. Probably guessing what we were up to, the insurees (his parents) wanted their truck back. Fair enough.
We loaded into another just old enough to drive friend’s car and drove 3 hours south to Victoria. 1st boyfriend had his eye on an older MGB convertible on a used car lot. I feel like I might have influenced this impractical decision imagining myself as the really cool girlfriend of the coolest guy who had broken the Island mold of souped up Chevelles and other red- neck beasts. Never mind that it had a fabric top and we live in an extremely rainy locale. But some good salesman sold him an equally impractical car.
The 67 Parisienne convertible was as big as a boat and after taking some magic mushrooms we did the inaugural float back north at about 30 knots which is about 30k slower than the speed limit. We were being safe as there was a lot to consider since we were all hallucinating a cosmically different reality. They started to take effect somewhere on the formidable Malahat and by the time we got North of Nanaimo we were really tripping onto all those poorly lit turns on the old Island Highway. We were so stoned we didn’t even know what a bad idea it was. T Rex, Led Zeppelin, and anything Fleetwood Mac played on an 8-track. Yes, the added value of an 8-track! It took a few hours longer than was normally necessary but we made the last ferry. To us it went by in the blink of an eye.
Eventually the parents thought it would be in everyone’s best interest if they they metaphorically took the keys away and sent their son back east to school. Probably a good thing for everyone concerned.
1st boyfriend was adventurous, creative and a little unorthodox. He wasn’t afraid to be a little retro different. Just like the car.
If men were cars, some of the ones I have crossed paths with were a cab ride, generic without any features or even names that I remember. No doubt they feel the same. Some were public transportation. One who visited the city I lived in a couple of times a year would take me out in his rental car for dinner and great bars with quality tequila and scotch. He always paid cash which I later figured out was an indicator that there was a wife he didn’t want reviewing the invoices. He was a rental just like the car he drove.
As a parent I drove something very reliable, economical and safe. My car reflected exactly who I had to be at the time. When the kids were getting ready to fly I bought my Honda Shadow 750. It had wings too.
I never had a new car, always used to some degree, some outright beaters. And boyfriends, some a little on the worn side but with redeeming qualities. A bit of rust adds character. Right?
Santa Fe, Pony Tail. His car? A beater, peeling green paint and leaks that stained my driveway. Older with a lot of miles on the odometer, unreliable, bald tires, a backseat full of tools in case he got a job or always on hand for the regular breakdowns. Tools and old greasy burrito wrappers, empty coffee cups, newspapers, coupons and a change of clothes, not folded but rolled into a ball, and shoes, probably not pairs. I put a towel down to sit in it. It was more like a kennel than a car. He had a matching van and a trunk full of baggage.
There were redeeming qualities. He was ridiculously smart and I was seduced by the fact that he watched birds and could talk about nature and philosophy and obscure things like Bonobos. Bonobos are our close primate cousins that solve all their disputes by having sex several times a day. How bad could he be? I made the mistake of lending my van so he could go see about getting Green Paint Car started. My van came back with a big dent and a flat tire. My rose colored glasses were broken like the headlight on the passenger side. It was as if it was contagious.
So are the wheels by which you travel a personification of your own character? Can we take a further leap to say a boyfriend’s car is some kind of an indicator of the state of the relationship, metaphorically speaking? Boyfriend 1 was new adventure, experimental and unforgettable. We were young and hadn’t yet been groomed to do what was expected of us. That car could have been a manifestation of our expanding consciousness while under the influence. Santa Fe Pony Tail was a wreck.
I love my van. It gives me independence and security. I am not tied into any rental contracts, accounts with gas and hydro companies, no property taxes. I can sleep, eat, cook and bathe in it. I don’t know what it says about me. Probably that I have issues around commitment, authority and responsibility. Yes adventuresome, unpredictable and all that too.
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