My first car was a 1979 Toyota Corolla who was delivered to me with both a history and an identity – her name was Emily. I inherited her from my friend, Kate, who had inherited her from her first and only other owner, Kate’s nan.
Emily was a bit of a character and it didn’t take long until almost everyone in town seemed to know that she was mine. I would be tearing along the road and arms would be flying out of cars in salutation of the two of us. Most of the time, I didn’t know who it was that was waving so wildly, but it used to bring me no end of pleasure.
Hailing from 1979, my little car had a few, um, perks that made driving both exciting and terrifying. Although a manual, the gears were almost arbitrary and you could pretty much just take off in 4th! The front passenger floor would turn into a small pond when it rained and sometimes she just wouldn’t start! When this happened, you just had to get out, walk away for 20 minutes and come back, a technique that both forced my life to slow down and made me to develop a greater level of patience than I had previously borne. After a while, I could no longer unlock the doors from the inside (if at all – many was the time I had to climb out of the passenger side!) so I just stopped locking her and simply didn’t leave anything in there that I was prepared to lose.
But oh my, how I loved her. Even though I couldn’t drive her more than an hour from home (on a good day) she was my freedom. I would put my mal on the roof and zoom off to the beach AT WILL which was a new luxury that I took advantage of at every chance. My board was basically as long as the car and I must have looked a sight in my little car with the enormous board hanging over the bonnet!
Although in the end she was both a hazard and a danger to both myself and other motorists, and although I now enjoy driving a car that starts every time, I miss Emily very much. I miss her unpredictability and I miss her character and I miss driving around in the car that was voted the 33rd sexiest ever (in a poll that I never found but which Kate assures me exists!).