Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In the beginning...

In high school, I was not terribly into cars. My first car was a 1984 Ford LTD. It was a mid-sized station wagon... yes you guessed it, the old family car. Technically, it wasn't even mine. In some ways getting a Schwinn Tornado bike with knobby tires that made it an actual "dirt" bike when I was 11 was cooler than when I received the small gray boat I drove in high school. Of course all the freedom and independence of a car was cooler than any bike, but when I got the bike I wanted to show it to my friends. Not so much with the LTD. Although I never did any off road bike racing, I had a bike that could do that sort of thing and that was cool. This probably also explains the indifference to maintenance that led me to learn the hard way why it is you want to check the oil regularly. Honestly, I thought my dad was checking the oil, but he was quite reasonably expecting me to do it. Yes, that's right, I blew the head gasket, billowing white smoke out the tail and all. The car survived. One hell of an expensive repair later, I was on the road again. This my parents paid for bless their souls. I was not employed at the time, with the idea of focusing on my school work. I did eventually obtain scholarships in excess of the repair amount, so I guess that makes up for it somewhat.

I'm sure that those looking in from the outside, wouldn't have thought I'd be getting a sports car later on in life. Looking back I remember a few things that were only visible from inside my head that do foreshadow the adventure I am embarking on. I distinctly remember doing 45-50mph down the road by the lake, which was totally unsafe, but the curves were fun. Thankfully, I only did that a few times. There was a tiny rotary at the top of the lake. If I came into it in the far right of my lane, flirted with scraping the left side of my car on the rotary's curbstone at the midpoint and narrowly missed the curb with my right wheel as I came out of it I didn't have to slow down at all. I did this every chance I got. Finally there was the time I laid down a good 2-3 car length skid mark on the road that lead to the shopping area. I had left a mark on the road... That was neat. Of course in a mid-sized grocery-getter, the only way to leave a mark is with a good long panic stop. Today, I would consider laying down such a skid to be the result of very poor defensive driving on my part. Luckily, I did manage to avoid having an accident with the cretin that pulled out without so much as a glance in my direction.

So I wasn't so much into cars, but I would say I was somewhat into driving. At least I was into driving as much as one could be with a station wagon...

Next... birds with no flames.

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