This I Believe

Karlie - Lake Bluff, Illinois
Entered on September 28, 2007

Driving the Deathtrap

I believe that because I drive a 1991 Mercury Villager green minivan, I have learned to be less self conscious. I loathe this car, but it is the one my parents have designated, ‘the student car’. Everything about it is old and falling apart. And it used to embarrass me to no end when I was younger. Last year we took it to the emissions testers and they had us get a couple things fixed before the van passed the test. So that means that the exhaust is a little more dangerous in the green jalopy. As a safety precaution, I drive with the windows down… year round, and I live in Chicago! Oh and the exhaust pipe rusted through and it fell off last week, which makes the exhaust come in the back of the car as well as in the front.

When I learned how to drive, I would always get in trouble for not putting my seatbelt on. That’s because in the van, there are automatic seatbelts, which by the way are so loud that I sometimes wish I had earplugs. The automatic locks get a little finicky and don’t lock on the passenger side every other time. The shocks don’t work; well they wouldn’t work if the green monster had any. There is no paint on the hood and the steering wheel drives at a 30 degree angle because the alignment is messed up. Then there is the broken antenna on the hood, the radio that beeps, the back speaker that clatters when driven over a pothole, and the windshield wipers that have a really hard time doing what they are supposed to do. Oh and did I mention that I hate this car? On the other hand, it has four wheels, goes forward and back and gets me places; sometimes.

Everyone gets embarrassed over silly things and this minivan was my thing to get embarrassed about. It was a perfect daily example of just grinning and bearing it, but now it is just something to laugh about. I appreciate when it doesn’t die more than three times in one ride; when I can crank the volume because at least I have speakers; when my friends ask for a ride because they don’t even get to use a family car and I do. I just smile when I see a student driver turn bright red and turn their head as they grip the steering wheel in their own mom’s minivan.