I got my driver's license when I was 17. A bit late, I know, here in the suburban wasteland that is the US of A, but there were extenuating circumstances. Mostly I was extremely eager to drive.
And drive I did. From 17 to around, say, 21, I drove and drove. I drove despite my mother's warnings that our car was not up to snuff. I drove around the Long Island Sound because I couldn't get a ferry reservation. I drove too fast, earning two speeding tickets in one summer.
I drove not with a feeling of freedom and abandonment, but rather with a feeling of fear. I remember tooling down some local roads at nineteen or so, and just knowing the car was going to spontaneously combust. OK with me, I thought. Fine. They'll reconstruct the whole scene, figure out what happened. Who cares? I never wore a seatbelt. I drove with my left foot up on the dash. "So what?" I thought. It doesn't matter.
Eventually that car -- a very cute 1980's VW rabbit -- bit the dust, and I just stopped driving. The next car I was intimately involved with came from my boyfriend's mother, when I was around 23, and it was a stick, which I didn't really know how to drive. So my boyfriend drove.
For a long time after that, I couldn't afford a car, and I didn't drive. I started to enjoy taking the bus and train and taxis; I started to enjoy telling people, "I don't drive." I got more and more weirded out by the fact that when you're driving, it's quite easy to kill people. To kill people!! How would you ever get over that? I became a reasonably happy non-driver.
It's, uh, about 20 years now since I drove a lot, and for various reasons, I've started doing some driving lately. I was really out of practice. But don't worry! -- I've had lots of updated instruction, and I'm not out there being a menace.
Today I had a kind of driving moment. I went to the mall, to return something, and to buy some stuff, and of course, it was crazy busy, and of course, the traffic was nuts. It was maybe the first time since I've been back at it that I've had to deal with lots of cars with highly emotional people in them.
It all went fine, and when I got home, I really felt like, "Well, now I'm a driver. A driver!"
And because I'm crazy materialistic, style-obsessed, and unsatisfiable, my next thought was, "I'm a driver! What kind of car should I get?"
After an hour or so of web searching, I decided on the Pontiac Solstice. OK, dumb name. But what a cool looking car! Check it out:
I like the way it's got that big rear end in the back with all those curves all around. Bee-you-ti-ful! And sexy!!
When I first starting looking around, I was thinking, "Chevy Camaro." And my enthusiasm for the Camaro was stoked by this funny Wikipedia entry describing "pony cars" -- cars that, in the wake of the Mustang, were all about sporty style and cheap prices, and not about substance or engineering. "That's for me!" I thought.
They stopped making the Camaro in 2002 (I know, shocker!). They're going to bring it back, but the truth is that like the current Mustang, the look is actually too sensible and boxy to really be appealing. Here's the 2008 Mustang:
It's fine, but it's a little too much like a Honda Civic, don't you think?
The sad fact of the matter is that I live in a big city, with no parking, and I take the subway everywhere, so there is no reason on earth for me to buy a car. But if I ever have to move to Barstow, I'm signing a deal on that Solstice within the hour. I love it! Rowwr!!