Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Flashback: My SECOND First Car

The fact that I remember the exact place I was standing when I caught sight of my fake first car probably explains why I remember nothing about my reaction to my real first car: The horror of that day overshadowed the entire year, I believe. 

But the car I ended up driving was, by far, much more worthy of remembrance.  A red, 1990 Ford Mustang 5.0, just like this one.


Oh, it was a beauty.  The problem was, it was a car beloved by teenage boys everywhere, and I lacked the proper respect for it.  Or so I hear.  For one thing, I had no idea what '5.0' meant, but boys did -- and they stared at me like I had superhuman strength until I stepped out of the vehicle in my tasteful loafers and cardigan.  (Oh, and braces.  Don't forget the braces.)  (And the violin case.  Sigh.)  (Was there ever any hope?)

I really did love the growl of the Mustang's apparently-manly engine.  It was just a bit too much for me to handle.  I mean, I did okay when the car was in motion -- it was really easy to reach 60 mph without even noticing , but that didn't bother me any, what with all the speed blowing through my hair -- but the trouble came when I needed to take off from a dead stop.  Then, things got dicey.  For the first several months of driving my very own car, here's how my takeoffs happened:

Sarah puts the car in gear, removes her foot from the brake, and lets the engine's power pull her forward or backward -- with no help from the gas pedal -- until she reaches the point from which she will need to actually begin driving.  Say, the stop sign at the edge of a parking lot.  She takes a deep breath, holds the air in her lungs just long enough to deaden the knowledge that she's about to be embarrassed, and flexes her hands around the steering wheel.  Poor Sarah's heart has nearly stopped with the lack of oxygen now, so she slowly -- carefully -- tenderly -- places her foot on the gas pedal.  And before she knows what side is up, Sarah's peeled out of the parking lot or driveway, spewing gravel or burned rubber bits in her wake.  Her face matches her paint job, and she gets the heck outta dodge before anyone notices. 

Except, people always noticed.  Especially in a high-school parking lot full of mingling teenagers which was where I was most often flustered right into an involuntary peel-out.  I got several nasty glares from girls who assumed I was showing off, as well as several rolled eyes from my brother's crowd who knew I was just dumb enough to not know how to handle a 5.0.  (Again -- whatever that means.)  I also got whistles and clapping hands from the boys who appreciated a good roaring engine and squealing set of tires. 

This also meant I was never good at sneaking away from home.  My daddy was a genius, apparently. 

Still, my Mustang and I had some good times.  We listened to the local pop music station as we zoomed around town, we hauled friends to sleepovers (and the occasional unmentionable party...), we were the perfect couple. 

But it wasn't meant to last, you see.  There was one fateful night...a dark road...a late curfew...a wandering deer...

And my beloved car was mauled.  I drove it for a few more months, with one mismatched front quarter-panel (is that a real thing?  I'm not sure.) and a healthy respect for deer.  (A respect that equaled fear.  I had nightmares of deer for years after that, harmlessly docile as they are, and my dad witnessed a serious breakdown one day as he was teaching me to drive my new stick-shift on an icy parking lot when a small herd of deer snuck out of the forest around us.  I think I hyperventilated for a minute.  Then, I think my dad hyperventilated when my tears wouldn't stop.)

My brother and his friend shoe-polished my car windows after that night with a cryptic reminder: Deer are for girls.  HORSES are for men. 

Yes, my Mustang would probably have been more muscled into excitement with a boy at its helm, but I'm certain it couldn't have been any more loved.  Burned rubber and all.

Do you think the Mustang made up for the terror of my 'other' first car?  How did your first car finally merit replacement?

(I feel like when I ask those questions, I'm typing reading comprehension questions at the end of a worksheet.  Like, 'What portion of the story foreshadowed the death of the Mustang?' and 'Do you think Sarah secretly enjoyed the peeling-out? Why or why not?' Heh.)


  1. I'm a bit jealous - I dreamed of a mustang and my T-bird didn't rank up there. Even my replacement car (Honda Civic) fails to live up to the style of your car.

  2. I think you are the only person I know who has been hit by a deer!!! I remember one night when, I believe it was you, Mandy and I were on some back road, maybe over by Lynsey's house or our old apartment, I'm not sure, but we saw a deer and you were driving and I believe that one of us had to finish that trip because you were, again, hyperventilating. Awww...the good ole days!!!

  3. I am now pondering whether you secretly enjoyed the peeling out .... the English major in me :-). I just lost my second "first new car" - car accident before Christmas - was with her when she went (Gwendolyn Delilah - a modest but beautiful Black 2000 VW Jetta) - miss her ;-). Anyway, now I'm reminiscing - looking at glamour shots of her over the years. Seriously, she meant a lot to me - independence, becoming a grown-up.... Anyway, I also drove a Mustang in high school - white - my Dad's (he was a car guy) - I, too, did not understand it's power - drew the attention of many boys (not me - the car). Like your post :-).

  4. My Reliant had to be left behind when I went to college. It could work going back and forth in my small town, but it guzzled gas so bad that once I filled up before an hour and a half drive home, and almost didn't make it home due to running out of gas. College was two hours away, so not going to work. The replacement car was a Buick Skylark (late 80's). It was a mechanical nightmare, but it didn't eat gas so bad, and it looked sorta like a Grand Am, so it was a definite improvement in the looks department.

    I love the mental image of you pulling up with your powerful car and getting out with a cardigan. Hilarious!

  5. Now *I'm* jealous! I totally would've switched cars with you! But there's no way I would've been able to handle all that horsepower at 16. No way. I would've gotten a few more tickets, I'm afraid.

    Seems we dressed a lot alike in high school. Except I was the dork toting the flute case. So cool.

  6. That is priceless. And the Twilight geek in me can't help but imagine Bella in her car. LOL!
    I had a Dodge Daytona with a Turbo Engine...cherry red.
    I drove that car like the true hellion I was.
    It ended badly....

  7. Unfortunately, we still have my first car. Delores the Taurus is a 1990, gold, Ford Taurus with half a front bumper and 3/4 of a back bumper. My husband drives her now... poor guy.

    Until she completely dies, the thrifty in me has a hard time buying another car.

  8. I only wish the Oldsmobile Omega aka "Brown Wonder" had been so cool. Literally! No AC, no radio but a year full of memories. Til that lady ran the red light! Thank goodness for your presence!

  9. My first car was a 68 Ford Fairlane 500 with the sexy fastback. It was older than I was when I got it. It had been passed down from my grandpa who bought it used, to my brother, who gave it to me when he moved out of the country. It left the family when I couldn't take care of it any more. It took our family members many miles over the years. I don't know if any of us took it to the east coast, but I know for a fact that it got the entire west coast and the whole Mexico to Canada states covered multiple times. I miss that car with its 289 and C-4 trany.

  10. Well I guess that makes up for the cruel trick they played on you. Funny I wanted a mustang or at least a red car (but I was happy with what I got) And I don't know what 5.0 means either but I'm pretty sure my friend drove the same car only white okay maybe hers wasn't 5.0, surely I would have known that ha ha. I love the peeling out-you crack me up. Oh and deer, I remember like it was yesterday: my sister was driving us home from soccer practice in her grandam (this was before she got my shiny new mazda-I was only a freshman) and I remember seeing a deer running down the side of a hill across the opposite lane and before I knew it we were air born-yeah, I'm pretty sure my head hit the ceiling of the car (good thing for seat belts). The deer had hit the car in front of us and we launched right over it-wow it was scary. The car survived and so did we....that was a good car I don't remember what ever happened to it.

  11. Oh! Now THAT'S a cool car!

    I had a friend who hit a deer in high school, too, and she had to wear a neck brace for weeks. Deers are dangerous...even for boys!

    Although, I did love that cryptic reminder!

  12. LOL! That was me: braces, cardigan, penny loafers, and a violin case. One of the vehicles I drove was a 1973 Ford crew cab, in mint condition. (It had 30,000 miles on it in 1997!) All the guys wanted to buy it and I loved driving it around because no one expected someone like me to be in the driver's seat!

  13. is totally jealous of car#2. I always wanted a mustang!

    my car #2 was a complete grocery getter. a gray ford taurus. Easy to pick out in the dorm lot. Hard to find at Albertsons...

    and I also hit a deer in it. The car fared much better than the deer did!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?