First I think I have to explain that the car I drive is a VW Beetle, one of the newer ones. It’s much more than a car, as I have come to realize. It’s a statement, it’s a conversation piece, and it’s a joy to drive around. I mean, just take a look at that smile! How can you resist smiling back?! Everyday I feel like I have my very own Mardi Gras float.
My husband bought the Bug for me as a gift. He thought I’d look cute driving one around. It’s green, very, very green.
One afternoon in Austin, TX we picked up our friend Marc to go and look at properties for sale. My husband drove and Marc rode shotgun up front and I settled in the backseat. After a few miles Marc says, in his very British-Leeds accent, “Dood, I guess aftah drivin’ this for a while ya haff to reach down ‘n touch yah nads to remind yah-self yer still a dood, right?” Thus ensued much fist waving in the air to loud calls of “Yeah!!” and “Wooooohooo! Arrrghhhh” I’m quite certain to the uninformed observers we passed on the road that their loud proclamations did nothing to ensure their manhoods were being recognized. Anything, but that.
It took me a while to get used to driving the Bug.
When you’re seated in the driver’s seat, the dashboard looks like it stretches for miles in front of you. I had originally thought I was getting a much smaller car in comparison to my 4-door Nissan Sentra, but parked side by side they are the exact same size. The Bug does handle nicely on the open road and contrary to what people think, it also has all the amenities, and then some, of every other car. I have power windows and locks. I have air conditioning and window washers, and an alarm too. There’s cruise control for lazy driving days. I also have a cassette player, AM/FM radio with Scan and I have a 6 pack CD changer in my trunk. All VW issued.
The heater is kickass. Those Germans really know how to make a car warm. There are vents that run underneath the seats to the back so warm air flows on your passengers toes. And my electric side view mirrors have tiny defrosters built in. My back seat folds down for those Ikea shopping trips and even with the seat in place I can still pack quite a bit into my trunk.
Something else I had to get used to were the blatant stares, the laughing, the pointing and the act of slamming one’s fist into their palm and shouting “PUNCH BUGGY” as I drive by. At first I would get defensive. What are you staring at?
When you’re in the Bug you tend to forget the outward appearance you give. I think that’s true of the way some people dress as well. The best are the children. They giggle and some even jump up and down when they see me coming down the road. I was at the mailbox one afternoon when one little girl exclaimed “That’s the car I want when I grow up.”
I hope I never get used to driving the Bug. I hope I continue to be surprised when someone points and laughs and still smile when a wee one dreams of driving one of her own someday. My little car tends to bring happiness wherever she roams. Even in the drudge of being in a booth all day collecting tolls the little green Bug can garner a smile from the collector.
It’s like she leaves joy in her wake. I know it’s not me. I am only the lucky operator.
I am thrilled to pack her up to head off to another location. Sometimes people passing in a parking lot will make conversation with me about her. “I’ve never seen the inside of one of these. Roomy, huh?” and usually there’s one concerned gentleman in the bunch that will ask if I’m having engine trouble if I’m standing there with the trunk open. I always respond with a smile that it’s been years since VW put the engines in the back and show them the back is now for storage instead. I have even had people ask to have their pictures taken with my car.
Driving my car is a lot of fun. How often can you say that about your car?
As I merrily roll down the Expressway at the end of the week I am glad to pay that $2 toll. The windows are down and the radio is singing. People in traffic are smiling as I zoom past them. Other travelers on the highway can tell with just one look at my behind that this little green Bug is headed home.
“Hey lady, I like your car!”
Yeah….me too 🙂