Last Thursday Sean drove me out to Naperville. It was a long, epic voyage through strange country and confusing roads with similar names. Anyway, I bought him dinner because our destination was the garage of a guy named Jeff who’s moving out of town, and wanted to sell off his 1972 Super Beetle.
Now, originally, the low price had us fishing for a catch … but the car looks good, for a hunk of metal older than Sean or myself, and it putters down the road quite ably too. Sean’s assistance was required not only for his more expansive knowledge of cars, but also for his crucial ability to drive stick.
It’s a lovely blue volksy, and we couldn’t find anything against it. Sean fell immediately in love, and I warmed to it in my own skeptical way, wary of these newfangled automobile things. (I’m the one who has cheerfully subjected myself to public transportation since the opportunity presented itself in High School.) Said Sean, “I’ll be very upset with you if you don’t buy this car.”
So, Friday evening I met Jeff at his studio downtown, and he drove me home in my new car. A long stop at the bank and I swapped $1350 for a title and a key to 800 pounds of automobile history, not to mention family tradition.
Mom drove the car to work this morning, her minivan being borrowed by Uncle John. Mom is now out at the library with my new vehicle. A white Beetle was her first car, a good “learner’s car” as she describes it, for it’s simple design and maintenance and cheerful disposition on life.
Dad still drives the blue 1974 bus with the one red door that it was repaired with after the time in Texas when I woke up at two in the morning and was soon walking out the windshield of a bus that had fallen on its side after the driver, who is now Dad’s wife, handled a patch of gravel poorly. The next seventy-two hours I spent managing a group of younger kids from one Greyhound bus to the next, bound for Chicago with a touch of diarrhea thrown in for good measure. ’twas actually more fun than it sounds, though I’m not eager to repeat the experience.
Well, I hope I can make something worthwhile of it. It seems more compelling to work with than the van, whose sheer size, complexity, and creeping rust really intimidate an automotive newbie like myself. The Beetle, on the other hand, is small, less complex, and frankly, more fun. If it were a computer it’d be an Amiga – a neat, mass-produced, economical gadget with good performance for its economy and a lot of people into tinkering with them and keeping them going strong long past their parent company has passed them on.