Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Forever Cars, Part 10

By Caitlyn Burroughs

My first car had been in the family for over half of my life before it became mine – a 1986 silver-blue Honda Accord with standard transmission (similar to the one above). It pops up in my childhood memories here and there – being in the passenger seat, emerging from the Fort Pitt Tunnel with my Mom as she spilled her drink all over the stick shift and was so frustrated that she declared, “This is the WORST day of my LIFE!” I remember not understanding why she was so upset about spilling some Pepsi, but looking back, I am sure there were other factors contributing to her bad day, including having to drag her “sick” kid to work in Pittsburgh with her. I also have a vague memory of standing in the driveway and sticking skinny little twigs in the key holes on the doors of that car, and then breaking them off so that they were flush with the lock – I don't think I even knew why I was doing that as I did it, but I do know that it made my dad madder than all get out.

Once I was older, there were the torturous lessons in learning how to drive a stick. After having taught me enough that I knew what was supposed to happen, my dad left me in the car at the bottom of the driveway (which is on an incline) and said, “Just keep trying, and when I see you at the top, you will know how to drive stick.” He was wrong. When I finally arrived at the top, it was on foot, stomping up and crying… “I CAN’T do it. I’m NEVER going to learn how to drive a stick!” Of course, I did eventually get it, and the car was officially deemed mine at some point when I was in college.

The sad part for me is the ending of my story. For graduation, I was excited to get got a “newer” used car – and picked out a teal 1990 Acura Integra. Despite my attachment to the old Honda, I couldn't help but be smitten by this slightly newer and fancier car, despite the fact that it was an automatic. I don’t think I realized that I would miss the Honda until the day after we traded it in, when I drove by the dealership on the way to work and saw it sitting in the back parking lot, looking betrayed and abandoned. To make matters worse, three months later I decided to move to New York City, which meant I had to sell the Acura. I wasn’t too sad about losing the Acura, although it was a fun car for the short time that I had it, but I sure wished I had just kept my dear Honda for a few more months.


Park Burroughs said...

You didn't mention that you and your brother took off the headrests and put them back in backward, where they became jammed, and it took your father a long time to realize it and a lot longer to take apart the seats to free them and get them turned around. Grrrr.

Anonymous said...

I loved the stories from Cate and Brody! Can we hear from
Alice now? Maybe "as told to Park Burroughs?"

Anonymous said...

I remember the Honda fondly too. I remember an evening in the empty Franklin Mall parking lot where you unsuccessfully tried to teach me to drive a stick. That ended up being the only time in my life (so far) that I've attempted to drive a stick.