I like cars, especially old ones. When I was a little girl, I would hold my dad’s hand as we walked through weekend car shows. We’d climb inside our favorites, I would sit at the wheel, hardly able to see a thing. I can still smell the old leather and gasoline. I was a little girl in a man’s world, my dad and brother’s. A die-cast, Porsche 9-11 Turbo Slantnose, red, sat proudly on my dresser. I assembled it on my own.
In high school, I learned to work on my 5.0 mustang, side-by-side with my husband, (of course, he was just my kid boyfriend, then). He loved cars. I wanted to prove I could do anything a man could do. My dad flew to LA to buy me that beast. I still remember the look on my senior project advisor’s face. He was an old man assigned to all the car projects. I was the only girl. I walked him out to the parking lot and showed him the ram-air I installed, how I changed the spark plugs, put in a new starter, modified the exhaust.
This weekend, an old gold Mercedes sat in front of my dad’s house when we pulled up. Not an unusual sight in our family, an unexpected vehicle with vintage flair. A new project, maybe, but not the usual variety. This one looked pretty slow. Turns out my dad volunteered to help sell the relic– nearly 40 years in the same garage. So much family history.
I was tempted to trade keys, cruise around town like a little old lady with the convertible top off, my big sunglasses, and dog in the passenger seat. I would definitely be the quirkiest teacher in the lot. The smell of that old leather almost sold me on its own. Maybe not the most sensible choice, but something I cannot explain. As I sat behind the wheel, I was transported back in time to when my aunt and late uncle were young, excited to have such a fancy new car, life somehow simpler with a tape-deck stereo. Didn’t hurt that the sun was putting on such an epic show in the clouds, time and life suspended momentarily.