Confession: I drove my first car, Stella, for approximately one month. Then I drove her into a telephone pole on a dark December night in 2008. I have been paying off the loan I had for her ever since. Now, at last, I have enough to make the final payment, and now, at last, I will buy a new car.
My history as a driver has been stormy at best. And sporadic. It begins the spring of 2003, the spring I was fifteen and convinced my mom to let me join a driver's ed class. And it ends there for five long years. After graduating, my driving skills, like my permit, were stashed away somewhere until nearly forgotten or expired. I couldn't afford to buy a car, not to mention insurance, and neither could my mother. So there it was. I went to work, I went to school, and my first two years of college on the public bus, which, in the Northwest where few utilize public transportation, was an adventure in itself. I hated and loved it. And then, in the spring of 2008, the spring I was twenty, after a few refresher practice drives (which didn't prevent me from flunking parallel parking), I got my license. That year, soon after my twenty-first birthday, I bought Stella.
Stella was a 1981 two-door Oldsmobile Omega. Yes, she was a senior citizen. But she was lovely. And sweet, and full of history. And aside from a reluctance to wake up in the morning, she was a good old car in general.
I used to call her my new big sister. Just look what I did to her. My cousin Josh actually pounded down the hood for me. It was sticking up awfully before.
I should have known of course. That's what they all said. My sister Anna's first car was a 1981 Oldsmobile Omega. And she crashed the poor old thing into a telephone pole too. It is Kismet.
Well, Stella was showing signs of impending retirement, I must admit. Again and again, she refused to wake up in the morning, or even after work in the afternoon. And her brakes gave the both of us quite a scare several times. And it was her brakes in the end that was to be the undoing of us both. She was a little creaky, and that night as I drove west on Birch Bay-Lynden Road toward my cousin's house and a sleep-over, I didn't know just how tired she really was.
I didn't see the brake lights ahead of me until too late.
I stepped on the brakes too hard. They locked up and away I skidded into the other lane. I couldn't have that, so I swung a hard right and landed neatly and loudly in a shallow ditch against an obliging telephone pole. The truth is, it could have been much, much worse.
I could have taken out that car.
I could have taken out the pole.
The pole could have taken me out.
But instead, my dear old Stella took the damage, and subsequently died.
You were the best first car a girl could have Stella. I loved thee.