The Car That Changed My Perspective
I hasten to think that anyone could look back in their memories and find a car that was important to them in some way. For me, it was and still is a 2000 Nissan Maxima: my 2000 Nissan Maxima. Although it was certainly nowhere near my best car, it was the most important for two very big reasons. I suspect the main reason is that it was my first car. It was the one that introduced me to the concept of a car: a machine that gives you the ability and freedom to get in and drive off into the sunset. Your first car is always going to be important no matter how terrible it probably was. The second reason is that it was in this Maxima that I first realized cars were more than just machines. As crazy as this sounds, they can have personalities.
My Maxima was technically (or shall I say mechanically) the most unreliable car I could have had. It had a bad steering column and air filter, the power steering fluid system was hopeless (even after being replaced twice), the tires were out of alignment, and the gas mileage was 18 mpg at best. By the end of its life, it was using a quart of power steering fluid a week, the radio stopped working, and the computer that controlled all of the electronics was dead. The car had gone into something my mechanic called “fail-safe mode”, which was rather absurd as far as I could tell because it did most certainly fail. The faster repairs were made to this poor car, the more components started to go wrong (luckily excluding the brakes, airbags and other safety features).
(Keep reading; it gets better, I promise)
You had to know every aspect of this car like the back of your hand, and no one could do it but me. If you wanted to drive my car you had to know exactly how to turn the steering wheel to get it around a corner and you only had access to about half of the power so you had to know how long it would take getting up to a certain speed in order to not get run over. You had to know how long it could sit in the sun before the battery was flat and you couldn’t turn it off if the air conditioning was still on. This car had to be nursed constantly, and I quickly learned to love it. It was greatly flawed, but it was my flaw. It was something truly and exclusively mine, and I loved this car. It made me appreciate all of the technicalities that go into making cars how important they are to society by making me grateful that I had one, and aware of the inconvenience of not having one. Sadly, I totaled this car the day before the new computer was installed. It would have been great to be a part of restoring this car back to its former glory, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried when I wrecked it, because I felt like I had betrayed it. When I called my grandmother to tell her what happened I didn’t say, “I wrecked it; I totaled it, or I broke it” I said “I hurt my car. I was mean to my car”. It was that special to me. I felt like I had lost a member of my family. Some cars do have a character, a personality, and some cars even have a soul. People who don’t get cars just don’t get that about cars.
What was your first car? What was your favorite car? Why did you like it, and do you still have it? I would love to know so leave a comment!
– Robyn Gilmore