I love my car. Love. LOVE. I know – I said I loved my last (should I say first?) car and I did. It was the best car $50 could buy and having to trade in the Star Car broke my heart. But I learned to love again.
I will admit it was a rocky start. I learned to hate car salesmen who seem to live only to waste my time and wear down my spirit. Luckily my dad was excited to car shop and after a few days we came upon the Geo. Not what I was looking for. But the price was right and frankly, we were hungry and wanted lunch. Only later on did I notice the Geo had a newer tire on the front passenger side and although CARFAX showed nothing, it became clear the GM employee who owned it for the first 24,000 miles had some sort of accident. That made me a little jaded about he/she (I’ve never gotten a clear feel for if the Geo is male or female – it think it transcends gender and is inhabited by a higher level of spirit being) and I couldn’t warm up to it right away. In fact, it scared me. It wasn’t my incredibly loud Cavalier that felt far more solid (even though rust fell off it every time I shut my door). It was too quiet – it sounded like a Jetsons car – and seemed like it could just fall apart at any moment.
I don’t know when I fell in love with it but eventually I saw that this thing was not going to die on me. I found that it was all Toyota parts under the hood which was kind funny since my friend just spent big bucks leasing a Corrolla. What bugged me most was the right front hubcap that I had to keep replacing but then my father-in-law suggested just painting all the rims silver. I loved it – but why go with silver when you can paint them purple? Not what he had in mind. Eventually they were repainted red because purple just clashed with the red of the taillights, which they remain to this day.
The body couldn’t be painted until I paid off the car. I had promised that to everyone who worried I would make another Star Car immediately. Once it was paid for I didn’t know what to do to it – people strongly advised against painting it. They said it was too shiny. Paint would never stick. Whatever. I think it actually grieved people when I realized Rustoleum oil enamel was the way to go and covered the Geo with green vines and multicolored leaves. I think I was extremely patient though – it had 100,000 miles at that point. The inside had already been covered in Mardi Gras doubloons and glow in the dark stars. Everything on or in the car means something to me, is an extension of me, right down to the Buddha on the dashboard, old-school Cooties and a plastic rhino named Pete.
Today, the Mighty Geo makes everyone smile when they see it. People stare, which confuses the hell out of my passengers until they remember what they’re driving in. People ask all the time why I did that but no one has ever had anything negative to say. It is a goodwill ambassador.
It’s not perfect of course. The relentless South Carolina sunshine has not been kind to the paint or interior. There’s no cruise control and the anti-lock brake system didn’t work for over 10 years (until my husband went to school for automotive tech and fixed it in class – yay for cheap labor!). It does 0 to 60 in…well, it does 0 to 60. The Geo can never be used as an inconspicuous getaway car in a robbery. It wouldn’t pass a state inspection if my state had one. Mechanics make fun of my Yankee car everytime they lift it and see all the rust. I had a huge argument with an old man replacing my windshield shortly after my arrival to The South who insisted someone had tried to repair a chip by drilling it. He insisted it could not be rock salt damage – even though I was driving the car behind the semi on the NYS Thruway (too close of course because I was drafting) that tossed it back at me and remember exactly when and where it happened.
But what it can do is get me from Point A to Point B, no matter how far away that is. I could never understand in college why friends with cars were not going places in them ALL THE TIME. I could never get my friends to take road trips because of excuses like gas money, leases, high mileage and just being an all around wussy (except Jen and that was a fun road trip to Pittsburgh). I figured I would understand that some day when I had my own car, but I still don’t get it. My car is freedom. It’s the absolute most important possession I have. It makes people happy. It allows me to feel like I could escape if I needed to. It gives me infinite possibilities. I love my car. I was thinking all this the other day as I was washing and detailing it, preparing for the latest road trip.
Long live the Mighty Geo. 173,000 miles and going…