|(Me and my father. Summer 1990. On the day I got the Mustang.)|
It means little to me, for whom cars are just a means of getting from place to place. Still I remember from time to time, and think of it, even, for a while. My first car.
It was a ‘65 Mustang. All original and “honey gold”, which was a sort of sparkly greenish-gold color I have never understood. Already it was old when I got it – twenty-five years old, if subtraction hasn’t failed me – and when brand new, had been my mother’s first car. Then, when it was somewhat less new, it became my aunt’s first car and later on, my cousin’s first.
The Mustang didn’t have a/c, which was just as well, really, because this meant I’d leave the windows down and could hear each time I hit a bump and sent a hubcap rolling down the road next to me.
I swear I never lost a hubcap the whole time I drove that car.
I drove the Mustang my senior year of high school but then, when I went away to college, my parents didn’t trust it on the road and pawned their black 1990 Ford Ranger off on me. The Mustang’s still sitting there, in their garage, up on blocks and without an engine.
I rode the hell out of the Ranger, as they say, all the way through undergrad and then through law school, too. By the time I rolled it back into Houston, it was spewing every fluid it had, the seatbelts and gas gauge were shot, you had to reach outside to open the driver’s side door, and the side mirrors were stuck on with electrical tape.
And I tried to trade it in but my dad asked for it back and he’s driving it still all these years later.
I made a down payment on a red Ford Ranger – this was 2001, I suppose – with money I’d put away for Ruby’s wedding ring. It sat up higher than my old black one, high enough so I could roll over curbs and never had to learn to parallel park the right way. It burst into flames routinely. I’d say, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you move this weekend. My truck is scheduled to catch on fire again.”
I drove the red Ford Ranger fifteen years and had only ninety-four thousand miles on it. I lost my faith in that truck, in the end, and when I was too afraid to drive it to the state Green Party Convention in San Antonio, I traded it in for the Civic.
Now, the Civic is absolutely a twenty-first century sort of scientific marvel, marking the first time ever I’ve had remote locks and automatic windows and even back-up cameras, to boot.
Mostly these days, I walk from place to place.