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First Car

Remember in how bad of shape your first car was? Back in the 80’s cars were affectionately called rust buckets due to the thinner, untreated metal they used. Even the passenger floor was rusted out so bad that there were holes big enough to see the undercarriage and feel the rain water kick up into the car! Those were the days! We didn’t have air bags, which are essentially violently explosive bags of air with a coating of burning powder to cushion the blow when we hit things. They even have “knee bags” now. Back then our knees had to fend for themselves in crashes. Cars today alert you when there’s a vehicle in your blind spot. Do you know how we knew a car was in our blind spot back then? When that car laid on the horn and gave you a not so friendly hand signal if you tried to switch into their lane. Also, my friend Sue’s blue bomber car could back fire like nobody’s business, for five continuous minutes after she shut it off! Cars just don’t backfire on a consistent basis like they used to. The first time she drove it to practice in high school, she could see the alarmed look on my face as she said, “Don’t worry, just ignore it, it’ll pipe down on its own after a while!” Old cars had personality! We’re so used to automatic windows now that we’ve forgotten how our first cars required cranking a large handle in hopes that the window would stay in the track and actually cooperate so that we didn’t have to grab it and try to lift it or shift it back into its track with all our strength. Heaven forbid that it should rain when you have all the windows down while driving, because then you had to pull over to physically crank them back up instead of just pushing convenient buttons on the driver side door like we can today. Between the open floor boards and cranked windows that were down, your poor first car was soaked by the time you got anywhere, and the wet seats didn’t have a stain resistant material like today. It had a stain magnet material. Back then before laws prevented us, we used our rear-view mirrors as a fashion statement to use for decorating purposes to see how much stuff we could hang. From rosary beads to roach clips, nothing quite obstructed our view of the road so completely as the large fuzzy dice did as they swayed back and forth going down the road. Remember making your passenger move your side mirror by hand because that wasn’t automated like it is today too? How about back in the day when you had to reverse out of a crowded parking spot without the help of a backup camera, so you just took a chance that the unstable person doing 60 mph in the Walmart lot had the sense to swerve to miss you backing up into their path. Parents back then didn’t have cruise control, so they had to actually pay close attention to their speed every second and manually push the gas and brake for the big car trips across the country during family trips. Nobody flew in planes back then, so countless hours in the car we went! Today, cars have lane assist technology to let you know if you’re going off the road. Do you know how we knew we were going off the road back in the day? When you started to clip the trees or wrap your car around a telephone pole! That’s how we knew we left the lane. As much as we cherished our first cars, wouldn’t it have been nice to have some of these modern-day conveniences back then?

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