Thursday, May 06, 2010

swagger wagon



i'm loving toyota's swagger wagon family - they almost make me want to buy a van. but then i remember that i live here and therefore shouldn't own a car, and oh yeah! i've already had a van.

yes, i was the proud driver of a white dodge caravan. her name was bonita, and she was all mine.

but first, let me digress.

my first car was a black 1996 manual chevrolet cavalier. her name was chaquita, and she kind of looked like this. i will forever be grateful that my first car was a stick shift. first of all, everyone should learn how to drive a stick shift. you never know - you could always find yourself in an emergency situation when you need to know how to drive one. also, you could find yourself in a cute-boy situation and need to impress him. for example:

cute boy: "hey, there's a car, but it's manual. i don't know how to drive those."
me: "i do."
cute boy: "really?"
me: "yes."
cute boy: "wanna be my girlfriend?"
me: "okay."

see what i mean?

anyway, chaquita was a good first car. she wasn't a glamorous car, but she was cute. and boy did she have charm. let me count the ways. although they don't all coincide, at one point or another, the following adorned my car: three powerpuff girls dolls (i was bubbles, lindsay was blossom, and momo was buttercup, if my memory serves me), a chihuahua bobble head dog (why!?), leis, my graduation tassel (obviously), a weezer sticker (100% acceptable), a dashboard confessional sticker (i'll take it. i really did love them back then.), and god knows what else. did i even know what the word 'overkill' meant? apparently not. anyway, chaquita. good car. had my first wreck (other driver's fault), logged many miles, and received my first warning ticket.

but like all first cars, chaquita had her faults. for one, she had manual locks and windows, which really isn't that big of a deal. she also didn't have a cd player, but i plugged in my discman and dealt. the one thing i couldn't forgive her for, however, was the fact that her air conditioner did not work. we tried to get it fixed, but alas, no dice. keep in mind that we're talking about north carolina + a black car. there were lots of unbearable moments. i hate getting hot and sweaty. i get really frustrated and unreasonably annoyed. chaquita probably could have pressed domestic abuse charges against me for all of the verbal and physical abuse i caused her.

eventually our relationship lost its steam and i began yearning for another car. the summer before my junior year of college, i started considering if i had other options. i dropped hints to my parents and had logical discussions with my brother and sister-in-law, priscilla. priscilla used to own a navy blue jetta, which to this day is still my favorite little nondescript but nice car, and if i lived anywhere else, i would probably buy one. hindsight 20/20, but i don't know why none of us ever thought buying priscilla's jetta would be a good idea for me. the timing was a little off, but i should have jumped on that when i had the chance. anyway, my parents were adament about my not needing/being able to afford a new (used) car that summer, so it became a known fact amongst my family that we disagreed.

then one day i found out that i would be getting a new car after all. a family friend was selling their 2000 white dodge caravan for very little, so my parents hopped on it. now, i appreciate the fact that in doing so, they acknowledged my observation that at any given moment, chaquita and i could break down on the side of a north carolina road and rot to death in the sun, but a white soccer mom van was not what i was anticipating.

my parents' argument was that bonita was a car in working condition, with a working air conditioning system (damnit, good point), automatic locks and windows (although one would get stuck if you rolled it down), and it was an offer that "fell into their lap." my first feeling for bonita was one of disdain, but i wasn't left with much of a choice since my dad shortly thereafter adopted chaquita, renamed her blackie, and never let me drive her again.

my hatred for her eventually waned, and i grew to appreciate her air conditioner despite the fact that the cool air was accompanied by a loud, growling sound. a girl i was lifeguarding with that summer even bought me a soccer mom sticker that i came thisclose to applying to the rear bumper (but ultimately didn't at my dad's request - see, throughout this whole "my parents are ridiculous/my daughter is ungrateful" ordeal, i still love my pops). bonita turned into a joke, and furthermore, she fueled some good self-deprecating humor, and at some point i embraced her.

it just so happens that this was the same summer that i went to visit one of my best friends, kathryn, in clemson. now, i don't want to give bonita credit where credit ain't due (after all, i happened to be driving my dad's/my future adopted camaro), but i ended up meeting a boy that weekend. sooo, i don't know, maybe the 'swagger waggon' isn't too far off an idea.

ps - chaquita is still kickin to this day - well beyond 200,000 miles and even after a tree fell on her.

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