Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
Janis wasn't too far off with her lyrics where my first car and the world I lived in at the time were concerned. Substitute "Chrysler Le Baron Convertable" for Mercedes and "Cameros" for Porsches and you have a pretty good idea of my transportation state of mind when I turned 16 in the early 1980s.
However, my wheels were of a more, shall we say, vintage variety.
My nana's 1970-1/2 Buick Skylark.
Yep, that was my totally bitchin' ride.
For a status-conscious, slightly-shy teenager, it was not ideal. So not cool and rather attention-getting in its unfashionability. But it was better than nothing.
Even though it had no radio. That's right -- no radio. I drove around with a transistor in the front seat next to me. Plus it sported a black vinyl interior -- that was lots of fun in the summer when wearing shorts. Didn't have to shave the backs of my legs for years -- the damn heat just seared the hair off. And a brown vinyl roof. Why the interior and exterior didn't match has long been a mystery to which we'll never have an answer.
We called it The Bomb. For reasons that I've long forgotten.
The bone my parents tossed me was that I could get it repainted any color I wanted -- the original hue was a bland beige.
OK -- that's not bad
Off to the car paint place we went, my dad and I. Where I picked out a pretty swatch of color. Boy, did it look great in that book.
I never considered the bigger picture of what it might look like on the car.
Said swatch: a lovely sunshine yellow.
On the car: a bright blast of lemon-hued tone. Bright being a total understatement.
If I was worried about attention before -- the paint job just sealed that deal. No subtle drive-bys anymore for me. No quiet appearances in any parking lot. People could see me coming a mile away. Literally.
The Bomb did have its good points -- well, one good point, anyway. It was GINORMOUS and could hold a whole posse of people in the front and back seats. Plus the trunk was huge, which came in handy when smuggling folks into a drive-in theater. We had some good times in that car -- the dust of teenage hijinks and tears of teenage angst and residue of teenage chatter embedded in the interior.
Even though I've tried to paint an accurate picture of this automobilic wonder, a photo really is worth a thousand words. So here are two, featuring my brother who inherited the car when I went off to college.
Stunning, isn't it...
I have no idea what the TP's about...damn CRS.
Please save your laughter until you've clicked off the page.
Every once in a while, I'll see a car that shade of yellow and a similar shape and do a double take. Although I doubt seriously that it's my ride -- bloody thing would be nearly forty years old. Plus, it ran on regular gasoline and Al Gore probably would have a stroke if he knew it was on the roads.
However, in the midst of my double take, I'll smile at the memory.
It was, after all, my first car.
And just like one's first kiss, it's unforgettable.