But it’s gonna take time – a whole lotta precious time.
So, I previously wrote an article about my initial experiences with a modern car. After three months of ownership, I talked about how I didn’t get the same warm and fuzzy feeling that I had got with my Mk2s or my Subaru – it just felt like it was an appliance to me, and didn’t really have it’s own personality.
As I said in that article, the purchase of an old car is something special, and essentially gives you a jump start on gaining some form of an attachment with the car – you have no idea what it’s been through over the decades, and it’s going to let you down at some point, and you know that and it becomes part of it’s charm. It’s already had a life, and you’re giving it a new beginning.
And to be honest, I don’t think I was able to see past that at first. To me, Polly was just an appliance. Despite driving her back and forth from one side of the country to the other, I wasn’t really attached to her – sure, it was great that she was able to make these trips, and not break, but meh, it wasn’t anything to write home (or on here) about. But as we start to spend more time with our cars, certain things can happen and we can start to really fall for them.
I guess in a sense, it’s like a comfort blanket. When times are tough and you need comforting, a comfort blanket is there for you when you need it. My comfort blanket happens to be my copy of Gran Turismo 2, but I digress. But in the same way, a car can be that comfort blanket. This week, as I’m sure our Irish readers will know, was the week of “Storm Eleanor”. Now, normally I’m the first to belittle and berate any weather warnings, cast it off as sensationalism and still venture out anyway. This was no different, and this time – I actually regretted it.
I’ve been taking the Polo to work lately, because Veronica the Mk2 is currently away from home – which is another story in itself. In the height of the storm, I was out driving in Polly delivering pizzas like Baby Driver, thinking “God, it’s a bit windy tonight lads”. A few hours into the shift, a tree decided it was going to have a go at landing on the car. If it wasn’t for a split second reaction and a dab of the handbrake, I’d have had it. If I was in the Mk2, I’d have had it – the handbrake in it isn’t strong enough to pull the car around on a whim. A car saving your life is a pretty big deal, if you ask me. Needless to say, I left work for the night after that.
That same night, literally about 15 minutes after landing in the door, heart still pounding from a near death experience, I receive the news that the flight that my girlfriend is on has had to land back in Dublin, because for some reason the airline decided that attempting a flight during a massive wind storm is a good idea. 5 minutes later, a triple figure jaunt down to Dublin Airport was on the cards, and Polly excelled.
The next morning at the break of dawn, nearly 200 miles of road were carved up like it was nothing. In less than a week I’ve done over 500 miles in this car, and not once has it missed a beat. Every important trip, soaked up and begged for more. An emergency trip to the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and now an emergency rescue mission for a damsel in distress – well, you’ve got the important catastrophe side of things covered.
Of course though, with anything, it’s not just the “you were there when I needed you” moments. All too often in life, we just think of the negatives, and choose to cast aside the positives. When people choose to scrap a car, do you ever hear them saying “God I had so many good times in this car, I love it to pieces”? Well, maybe the odd time, yes – but more often than not, it’s the “it let me down too many times”, or “it’s good for nothing”, and they choose to let it die because they choose to block out the times that car took them to see their kids, their love, and important events.
But anyway. Yes. There have been a lot of fun times too.
I might as well get this one out of the way now before it’s brought up – yes, I beached the Polo. After a trip to Portnoo in Donegal, I wanted to get a photo of the car on the beach. I have done this countless times and never got stuck. This time I did. A tractor pulled us out. That’s all I have to say about it.
Last week we had a very random bit of snowfall in town. We managed to catch it so early that we had a blast – the obligatory snow fun of handbrakes and snowmen (and a combination of the two… don’t ask.) on fresh and pure snow is the most amount of fun you can have in a car with your clothes on – fact.
You’re probably wondering now “Where is he going with all of this?” and I don’t blame you – bear with me a moment.
My point is, a car should not be defined by the sum of it’s parts. A car, to me, is defined by what it has experienced, and what those experiences mean to you. You wouldn’t (well, shouldn’t) judge a person on their outward appearance, and nor should you a car. To many, a car is simply that – a car. It’s a metal box with wheels, designed to take one from point A to point B.
But this last week, this car has taken me to see my two best friends and spend time with them. It saved me from near death when my other cars wouldn’t. It took me to the airport in record time to comfort, be there for and rescue the person I love. It took me to visit a friend on the other side of the country, and it took me to university to get work done for a submission. It got looks from passers by, and it embraced me with my favourite songs as it did all of these things. It has now become humanised to me which took longer than my other cars – because it took some key events to happen with it to realise that a car isn’t humanised by the life it had before you got it – it’s humanised by the things you do with it. And after being there for me at some times I needed her the most, she’s definitely proven herself.
This is no longer a car – this is a best friend. The next time that you think a car is merely a form of transport, just remember the things it has done for you, and with you. They say that a dog is a man’s best friend – I say it’s his car.