My Life in Cars

Although I've never done the meme going around which calls upon you to list eight "weird" things about yourself, I'd probably add this as a somewhat unusual thing for a woman of my age and situation - I love cars. Always have. When I was very small, my favorite toys were Matchbox cars and a Fisher Price Gas Station, and by the time I was three, I could name virtually every make and model car on the streets, a dubious talent my parents delighted in parading for their friends. As I grew up, my interest in automobiles grew proportionately, and I harbored secret (and very unrealistic!) dreams of being the Danica Fitzpatrick of my generation. And truthfully, although I met Jim when I was 13 years old, I really didn't have much interest in him until he started driving a 1971 black Mustang Limited Edition, with "mag" wheels and and a 350 V-8. Yes, my husband is quite definitely a "car guy," so you can imagine the kind of automotive crazy genes we passed along to our son.

I form attachments to the family cars, and everybody knows I'll be crying buckets when it's time to say goodbye to a well loved machine, no matter how much I'm looking forward to it's replacement. I've been fortunate enough to have some really nice cars in my day - my first car, a 72 Nova 350 gave way to a 75 Pontiac Trans Am, followed closely by a 78 Silver Anniversary Corvette. I got pregnant about the same time I got that car, though, and it's not really a family friendly machine. It was in the early 80's that my love for sports cars had to give way to the more practical sedans befitting a young suburban mom.

Growing up in Detroit, the motor capitol of the world, with parents and relatives all working for one or the other of the Big Three, I suppose it's natural to develop an interest in cars. For me, though, I think cars are all about freedom. When I get in my car, the open road before me, life suddenly presents itself as full of opportunity. With the windows down, the wind in my hair, and my foot pressed very firmly to the gas, I can let all the cares and worries of the workday world go streaming away behind me. Suddenly, I'm no longer a 50'ish menopausal matron - I'm 16 or 25, or, hell, even 40! with all kinds of fun ahead of me. That feeling is just enhanced all the more by a sleek, hard edged, preferably black sports car, with a throaty growly going on under the hood.

Of course, all this car talk is just a lead in to talking about the new car I got yesterday. I've been in a real quandry about what kind of car to get, knowing the lease on my 04 Grand Prix was going to run out. I've been driving Pontiac's for the last 8 years, and was just in the mood for something different. I nearly bought a Lincoln MKZ, the fashionable new sport sedan that seems to be all the rage among "women of my age." It was probably the comment from a friend of mine (a 73 year old gentleman who is a Porsche afficianado and world traveler) that put the kibosh on that car.

"Come on!" he said, with a note of derision in his voice when I told him I would probably get the Lincoln. "You don't want to drive that old lady car."

Damn right I don't! So, I opted for something a little different - not totally off the wall, but a definite departure from the cars I've been driving recently. It's a Saab 9-3 Turbo, a compact European style sedan with tight steering and a turbocharged engine that gives it a nice little kick on the highway.

I'll still be piling the dogs inside, and hauling my mom to the grocery store and mall, but once I'm on my own, I'm looking forward to opening up the sunroof, and letting my hair (and spirits!) fly.

So now, you'll have to excuse me, because it's Sunday, and I'm off to do some driving...