My first car was a 1985 Volkwagen Jetta, lovingly nicknamed The Jedi. I shared it with my sister, and I'm pretty sure the only reason we called it The Jedi was because my friend joked that you had to summon The Force every time you turned the key, not because we are Star Wars fans at all. In fact, I've only seen Star Wars twice and one of those times it was in German.
Towards the end of The Jedi's life with us, it had fun little quirk called deciding not to start. We'd drive it to three or four places and then at the fifth place we'd run in, run back out, attempt to start the engine, and nothing. No noise. After several minutes a click could be heard. After leaving it sit for 20 to 30 more minutes, it would start immediately upon turning the key. We replaced numerous parts with no success in solving the problem.
It's funny how our parents didn't seem that aggravated by the car until they got stranded themselves. By that time we were so accustomed to it that we just said something to the effect of, "Oh, it's clicking again. Get out and let's sit over here and wait." And we got out our books or phones or whatever to pass the time.
My second car was a hand-me-down from my sister. It was a 1990 Chevy S10. It had one of those sliding windows in the back of the cab, and my sister taught me how to open it from the outside with a butter knife and a flip flop just in case I ever locked my keys inside. This skill came in VERY handy.
The truck didn't have much power, but it drove me from place to place. Of course towards the end it too had its issues, the main one being that the needle on the gas tank didn't read correctly. I still owe my friend Sarah big time for making her walk to a stranger's house when we ran out of gas on the way to Wal-Mart in college. I think she was sick at the time. Not good. Not good.
The second best memory I have of that truck is the time I was driving to see Punkin's dad (back before he was Punkin's dad) and I kept hearing a THWUNK THWUNK THWUNK as I sped down the interstate. I finally found a place to pull over and discovered that the metal stripe detail along the side was coming off. Not knowing how I could possibly stand the noise any longer and fearing for the safety of other drivers should the piece free itself, I yanked it off and threw it in the cab.
The best memory I have of that truck was when I was pregnant, about three months along, and on my way to a garage sale with a girl who I had just met but who is now a very good friend. It was a very hot day so I had the air conditioning cranked (you had to turn it off before you started the engine, though), and as we're driving, one of us noticed smoke coming from the dash. "Ya, that's probably the air conditioner. Sorry. We'll have to open the windows."
A few months after that incident I purchased the 1998 Camry that I drive now. A few months after I got it I started having trouble with the door to the gas tank. I would pull the lever inside the car and the door would pop open, but it would immediately close again. After a few embarassing encounters with asking strangers for help holding the door open at the pumps, my dad gave me a small block of wood to hold the lever open. Problem solved.
Now that the car is paid off, little things have began to come up. The clock fell into the dash one day when I was trying to set the time. The plastic part on the volume knob broke off. The parking brake light is always on. The fan sounds like a training session at NASA. But the car runs and the insurance is cheap.
The other day, though, we pulled up to church, I got out, and I walked to Punkin's side to get him out. I pulled on the handle to open his door and nothing happened. I looked down and I was holding a piece of plastic in my hand. I looked at the door and saw that a piece of plastic was missing. I pulled the handle off of his door. I put it in my purse and walked to the other side.