Spoiled children are known to receive anything and everything from mommy and daddy. However is there ever really an end to the wants of the average teenager? April 5th 2007, five-day’s before my eighteenth birthday, my father and I started looking at new cars. Since my first vehicle had been a 1999 Dodge Ram with a worn out gold paint job, I was excited to drive something that didn’t involve folding down the front seats for my friends. A 2006 Scion XA caught my eye. Who knew a small, four door, little Toyota would steal my heart with its new car smell and working radio? This would not only be the car I drove on my first road trip, but also throughout my senior year of high school. I could not have been happier. I believe simplicity brings happiness. It was not the fancy car I wanted, but the freedom to go where that car would take me.
At the time, almost ending my junior year, I had hoped to start off my senior year with a new car, and to look as good as every other “popular” girl. My new little Scion was my ticket to self-happiness. The more noise and shine my car gave off, the more proud I was to call it mine. As time went on, I noticed I was more willing to drive my friends around, and I spent less time at home. I enjoyed being able to go anywhere and everywhere. The thirty-eight miles to a gallon engine was my ticket to become an adult. With my new set of wheels going everywhere I did, my best friends, Jasmine, Lynda, and I began planning our first road trip to El Paso, Texas. Both Jasmine and I have family living down there, so we decided to visit them. Over spring break 2008 we drove to El Paso in my car, looking forward to reuniting with family, and finding prom dresses down by the border. Life could not have been more perfect.
While we enjoyed our trip very much I was soon about to learn the full responsibility some privileges come with it. Arriving home from our little get away I parked my car in the garage, and realized how dirty one little car can get. Driving a total of fifteen hours in the desert I learned bugs and tumbleweeds can ruin any sized hubcap. I thought it was no big deal, and would just get it washed. Suddenly, on my way to the car wash, the service engine light turned on. I had driven so many miles that it was time for an oil change. Maintaining my car was taking up time I would have normally spent out with my friends, or participating in other activities. All the expenses I paid for were from my own pocket. However, these little chores weren’t going to keep me from driving. Later that month, I parked my little car out side the local mall, as Jasmine and I went in to get our prom dresses fitted. Coming back out, much to our surprise there had been a square white napkin left on my front windshield wiper. It stated “I just saw a man in a truck hit your car”. Below this she wrote a license plate number of the truck, along with her business card. As I walked in dread to the rear of the car I saw a five-inch, dent on the right side above my bumper. After calling my mother and informing her, I immediately started to cry.
Looking back, this is the point where I realized the reality of adulthood. I had an amazing time on my road trip; however, preparations had to be made. Since I drove, I had to take more responsibility in knowing how to get there, and having to pay to make sure the Scion would be able to make the trip without any complications. Jasmine’s Mustang was too small to hold our dresses and luggage, so without the Scion we would have had to fly on a plane, which defeats the purpose of a road trip. The paint quality and fancy new CD player did not affect our trip anyway. Lynda, Jasmine, and I still laughed and enjoyed our time together. Would it have mattered if we were in a flashy new sports car? Then it hit me. It’s not what I had, but it’s what I did with what I had. I didn’t want a fancy car; I only wanted to go where that car could take me. The ability to have the road under my tires, and the thrill of freedom were the only real characteristics I was looking for in a car. I realized the Scion was my car, my responsibility, and a lechery others may not have.
That dent may still be above my bumper, and my windows may be dirty from last Saturday’s rain, however it’s MY car. When I have the urge to go out and get a Vanilla bean from the Starbucks down by the 101, I know I can get there with a simple turn of a key. As I look at pampered teens on MTV, I wonder, do they hold any more happiness compared their peers with less money? If just any set of wheels can take me on vacation, or just to see my loved ones, does it really matter how much they cost? “It’s the simple things in life that keep us happy,” said by an unknown author. I could not agree more.