Everyone has great memories of their first car. In a way, you come of age when you buy your first car. There’s a kinship you have with it and even if it’s unreliable and beat up, you still hold it in great esteem. Eventually, just like with any tumultuous relationship, you move on.
I’m finally parting ways with my ‘93 Sunbird convertible. I drove this car to its last legs. After owning it for nearly two years, it gave me 20,000 km. Keep in mind, it was already sitting at 220,000 km when I purchased it. It shook like hell on the I90 on the way to Seattle; it braved the drastic weather shifts on the Kootenay Pass countless times; it climbed the hills of Nelson and Rosemont — or what I like to call nature’s elliptical and I like to think it was one of those familiar cars people would see through town.
This car was literally held together by duct tape. The back window would rip apart from the vinyl every time I’d put the top down, so I’d need to reapply the tape afterwards. If you ever passed me on the highway, you probably noticed a rolls’ worth of duct tape flapping violently in the wind. It was a sexy car with a lot of special memories. Most of those memories have music attached to ‘em, so I give you the songs that sum up my ‘93 Sunbird convertible, otherwise known as “Madonna.”
Madonna –“Hung Up” I always told myself when I bought a car, I’d name it after the first artist I heard on the radio when I turned the key. Of course it wasn’t a reputable band/song. It was this one. So from that point on, I called her “Madge.”
Arcade Fire –“Sprawl 2 (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” When I was driving to Nelson from Edmonton to start a new chapter in my life, I had a very serendipitous moment when driving through the mountains. Can I just say, I feel like people use the word “serendipitous” way more since the movie Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale came out in 2001. This tune came on and it made me look around my car, at all my belongs and realize that everything in this car is my life. I thought “this is crazy.” It was a Jerry Maguire singing Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ moment. Plus the mountains beyond mountains part I really took literally.
Fat Joe ft. Ashanti –“What’s Luv” I would constantly embarrass my old roommate when I’d drive down Baker Street with the top down with this grammatically incorrect song blasting, garnering odd looks from pedestrians. He’d be riding shotgun and after a while of cringing in his seat, he embraced it – they always do.
The Rivieras –“Warm California Sun” The joys of having a convertible is that when the top’s down, the whole world can hear what you’re listening to. This comes with a lot of responsibility, so I’d always try to play music that people would sing along to when they passed me on the street. This one always got people humming or at the very least, a knowing nod.
Superchunk –“Crossed Wires” This was one of those songs that went on a CD that hardly left my CD player in my car. Oh, I didn’t mention my ’93 Sunbird convertible had a CD player? The power of that song always made me put my foot down on the pedal a little more.
Weezer –“Jamie” There’s something awesome about playing your favourite band in your own car. It’s even more awesome knowing that the song came out the same year that your car was born.
The Doobie Brothers –“Long Train Runnin’” Another CD that didn’t leave my car for ages was The Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits. This is a great open road song.
Cloud Nothings –“Stay Useless” As shy as I may seem, I try to be bold as much as I can. One day, I drove to a girl’s house that I knew wasn’t going to end up dating me, but I needed to do a last ditch effort to make sure I did everything possible to make it work. I told her I needed to drop by and give her something on my way to visit the city. So I walked through her door, threw my coat on the floor, grabbed her and said: “just roll with this,” and I kissed her hard. For a few brief moments, we were locked in this fit of passion and we kissed each other like our lives depended on it. I picked up my coat, walked out her door, and said goodbye, leaving her bewildered. While I was speeding away, I cranked this rocker of a song, and started punching the top of my car in excitement, not believing what I just did. I felt unstoppable! – To this day, this jam is the one that sums up the car for me. She didn’t date me.
A car may just mean getting you from point A to point B, but I like to think your first car is all about the cool little memories its given you; even if you can’t ever look at a roll of duct tape the same way ever again.