Your Life in Cars

I covet. I blow that Commandment all to hell on a regular basis. And I don’t care. Right now, I’m coveting a Honda Crosstour.  Believe me, that’s  toned down from an Aston Martin to a Jaguar XF (or XJ, nowadays) to, well, this.

While I wait, tell me things:

1) Who taught you to drive?

2) How many cars have you owned? And what color (and make/model if you’re feeling chatty)?

3) Have you ever required the services of a tow truck?

4) Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one-way street?

5) If you could have any reasonably practical, drive-around-daily car, what would it be?

6) Are you the sort to park at the back and walk or hawk the front parking spaces until something opens up?


7) Do you a) let other people drive your car happily? b) allow it with a frozen smile of ire-and-anxiety-trying-to-pass-for-agreeability? or c) Are you? seriously? Are you looking at my keys? Do piss off and come back to me when you’ve regained your senses.


Author: jamiemason

Wrote THE HIDDEN THINGS, MONDAY'S LIE, and also THREE GRAVES FULL (Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books.) Might write something else if I'm not careful.

12 thoughts on “Your Life in Cars”

  1. 1) Public school
    2) 12 (and two bikes) From an Austin and a Suzuki Fuki to a Ford Ranger and a soulless Malibu.
    3) Yes
    4) Are you the law? What’s the Statute of Limitations on this?
    5) Dodge Magnum (hemi), or maybe a Leaf. Oh wit, you said practical. Any POS with a good motor and drive train will do. (Thus nicely negating #7.)
    6) Yes
    7) b)

  2. Oooh, a poll. *Rolls up sleeves* Okay.

    1. My mother, my friends, and–for a time–an instructor. Here in the US, I taught myself how to drive on the other side. Nobody died, so I guess that was a success.

    2. 5.

    3. Yes. I was fortunate enough to have my battery die completely while I was parked at the Post Office several winters ago. The whole electrical system seemed dead, so the AAA guy assumed it was something more nefarious. But no, just the battery.

    4. No. But my greatest fear in life is being the wrong-way driver. Driving into the pit at Master Lube is the other (I told them this and they laughed at me).

    5. A Toyota RAV4. Practically perfect in every way for me.

    6. I park at the back. The exercise is good for me, plus it just wastes time and gas waiting for the up-close spots.

    7. I don’t even like handing over my keys when my car has to go in for maintenance! The seat takes forever to get back into perfect position afterward. So “c”. Mostly.

  3. 1) My big brother.
    2) 4- Ford Thunderbird, Hundai Excel (worst car ever) Saab 9-3, Saab 9-5.

    3) Tow truck: yes. I drove a Hundai. The transmission blew before 20k mi and the engine went at 40K.

    4) Never!

    5) I love love love my Saabs. My 9-3 has been with me since 2000, I’d buy another in a heart beat.

    6) Depends on my mood. If it’s cold and I’m grouchy, I’ll find a good spot. Otherwise, I’m walking.

    7)A solid mix between B & C. I’ll let my brother drive my car willingly. Everyone else falls between B & C.

  4. I suppose I could answer my own questionnaire:

    1) My friend, Scott o’Neill.

    2) 3 cars – ’95 Dodge Neon (red), ’99 Dodge Intrepid(silver), ’03 Pontiac Vibe (red) P.S. No more red cars. It was an accident, I swear.

    3) No, knock wood. I have never needed a tow truck.

    4) Yes, but it was my mother’s fault. As a perennial pedestrian and giving urgent directions from the passenger seat, she neglected to calculate that, when you’re walking, the street goes both ways.

    5) Right now, for space, I like the Crosstour. If I could just have anyhting, the XF.

    6) I park at the back and hoof it.

    7) B-

  5. 1) Mr. Swartz. Then my friend Amy.

    2) 3. Gray ’86 Buick Century station wagon, black ’96 Mercury Mystique (or, as my mechanic called it, Mercury Mistake), ’09 Nissan Versa hatchback.

    3) Oh, yes. My first two cars had…issues.

    4) Once in Driver’s Ed. I asked Mr. Swartz which way I should go and he thought I was just being too tentative and made me pick. I picked the wrong side of a divided road. Oops.

    5) Nissan Leaf. Failing that, a Prius. My Versa is a fine everyday car, though.

    6) I don’t much care where I park, as long as there’s a good line of sight for backing out.

    7) Yes, a. I’d just as soon someone else did drive my car. Automobiles are a practical but rather annoying method of getting from point A to point B. Cars are like kids: I like my own okay, but in general they aren’t my thing.

  6. 1) I put equal fear into each parent and a brother or 3 as well :)
    2)Can’t even name them all. Orange Datsun, Red Pulsar, Blue Paseo, White Paseo, Blue Honda Civic, Pink CJ-& Jeep, Black Escort, Black Santa Fe, Red Tracker, Green Durango, Huge white Ford Ranger, Blue Camaro… not in that order and 2 dozen more…
    3) Yes. More than once. (not my fault – I swear!)
    4) Er… maybe :/
    5) Is a ’67 Mustang Shelby GT practical? I don’t care. WANT.
    6) Park in back and walk. I don’t like parking lot tours. Doesn’t make sense to drive around to park up front and go home then walk for exercise.
    7) I would never give up my keys when I was young, but lately – I’d almost always rather be driven. Limo driver puh-leeze.
    Nice post. You may be able to tell – I’m a car gal. Hope you get your car. Nice looking ride. I never saw it before. Now I have a car crush :)

  7. 1) My dear ole dad
    2) 1987 Oldsmobile, 1980 Metallic Green Honda Accord, 1990 Honda Accord (improvement), 1996 Green 325 BMW, now a 2006 BRG Mini Cooper
    3)Yes-flat tire on the side of Hwy 85 in a construction zone. Did not own a cell phone at the time and a nice State Trooper called the tow and then let me borrow his phone.
    5) I believe I currently own the best car there is. My baby BRG Mini
    6) I usually park about midway. Not too close, not to far. Just right
    7)I’m usually cool about others driving my car.

  8. 1.My father when I was about 8 yrs old. On Saturday afternoon I would beg my parents to take me to the local University parking lot and let me drive around.
    2.7 my first 2 vehicles were Ford Trucks. (I had a horse, give a girl a break). Since then 2 Ford Explorers, an Escalade (my fav), a Jetta (hated it) and a Volvo station wagon (current). Mostly all were white, I like a white car.
    3.Yes, on New Years Day (after a hard night of drinking champagne) my husband went to Bojangles to get me a biscuit (due to the hangover). Our Escalade quit working while in the drive thru line and he had to push it (remember it’s a Escalade) out of the way so everyone else could get their biscuits. He called me to say he was stranded and I hung up on him, thought he was kidding. When he called back and convinced me that he wasn’t kidding,I went and got him and went home to eat my biscuit before dealing with the fact that the ‘sclade was still at Bojangles. When we went back to get it, there happened to be a hauler in the parking lot, I went in and chose the “man most likely to be driving said hauler” and got it right!! He and his friend had just repo’d someones car and agreed to take it off the hauler and take my car home. Luck? I don’t know but I was really happy about that!
    4. Yes, in Saint Martin, after a night of drinking (pattern here?) I was the lesser of the two drunks and decided that I should be the one to get us back to the hotel in the middle of a very bad rain storm. As I am driving a local woman stops me and says “this is a one way street”!
    5.I would love another Escalade white diamonds in color. Also, the Porche Cayenne is really hot too.
    6.I take front if they are available but don’t mind a back parking spot either, would never waste time waiting on one to open at the front.
    7.My car is 11 years old, anyone can drive it at anytime (within reason). Now if/when I get my new Escalade or Cayenne, it will probably be a different story altogether!

  9. I LOVE cars!!! And, I crave the Crosstour as well – it’s as sexy as they get.

    I just got my first Mercedes, and I’m in car heaven. I’ve always been a car freak, no thanks to my family who don’t know the difference between a Smart Car and a Hummer.

    My dad taught me to drive an automatic, and my high school BFF taught me how to drive a stick shift. I’ve owned many cars, but my faves were a brand new 1986 Honda CRV (white w/blue interior – my first new car), a white 2008 Nissan Altima, and my gently used 2008 Mercedes Benz C300, also white! (I see a pattern here…) My boyfriend gets to drive my car (in more ways than one!), and I try to find the closest spot to the door.

    Love other women who also love cars!!!

  10. 1) My dad taught me to drive, in an Alfa Romeo on a crumbling aerodrome famous for a massive wartime munitions explosion. It was undramatic.

    2) I’m on my 20th car. My first was a 1980 Ford Cortina estate with knackered suspension and rust holes I could fit my fist through. Great car, albeit completely unroadworthy.

    3) I had a Mini that packed up in a blizzard on the M23, onto which I’d accidentally turned due to a confusing contraflow. I arrived home many hours late on the back of an AA flatbed. Car fixed itself the next morning. Good times.

    4) I’ve never driven the wrong way on a one-way street, probably because I’ve been a passenger when someone else has done it, bang slap in the middle of London. You don’t forget lessons like that.

    5) ‘Practical’ in my house is about to mean ‘seats at least six,’ and if you’re reading this in the Colonies, fuel is the equivalent of a tickle under $8/US gallon, so I am currently showing my age and craving a Ford S-Max TDCi.

    6) I usually try to carry a child with me so I can take advantage of parent & toddler parking. It just makes sense.

    7) You toucha my car, I smasha your face.

  11. 1. My dad. But to keep the insurance lower, I went to a driving school as well. This was before the days of driver ed in high schools. (I’m old.)
    2. Six. My favorites by far are my current pickup truck and a ’71 Chevy Nova I bought in 1984. When I bought it, it was black with two dented bumpers and its interior was puke green and ragged out with a second hand bench seat. But it had a hot 350 engine with a 4-barrel carb. I was freshly divorced, and all the ex left me were my clothes and my 250-pound partner on the police department. I was broke, going through a second childhood, and having the time of my life. I bought it pretty cheap. At that time, you could still go to junkyards and pick the bones off abandoned classic Chevys. And visit junkyards I did, all over the tri-state area around Memphis. It was like a two-year treasure hunt. After trudging through the graveyards of many a man’s dreams and coming away with a piece here and a piece there, I built a pretty blue hot rod with a clean black interior with bucket seats, shiny straight bumpers and Cragar SS mag wheels. The week before I got married again I went camping and left it in the hands of my soon to be wife. She took her 75-year-old mother riding in it and got in a drag race with a hotshot Nissan 240-Z (and won, of course). She fondly tells the tale of how impressed her now deceased mother was. In the end a few years later, an irresponsible driver pulled out of a driveway and T-boned me. I could have repaired the damage (those cars were built strong and weren’t totaled with the least bump), but my heart wasn’t in it. I sold it. Another jackal was delighted to score all the nice parts on it. I still have one of the Cragar wheel caps and the SS emblem off the front grill sitting on a windowsill in my shed.
    3. Boy howdy, have I. Twice. First time was with the first wife. We were young kids and could only afford an eight-year-old yellow Opel Kadet station wagon that was a piece of junk. We had to push it home a time or two, and had it towed once. When we finally could afford a better car, we traded it in at a dealership. They took it for a ride, and as they rounded the corner coming back, my wife said, “here they come.” I replied, “are they driving it, or pushing it?” I vowed never to own a pee-yellow car again. The second time was my first truck. I had just gotten new work responsibilities that required my having a car phone. At that time, car phones were the size and weight of a brick. I had my fuse box rigged so I could plug the phone in. Soon after that, I was riding down the street, and it caught my truck on fire. If you’ve never seen a car fire, they really blaze. Flames shot up in the air fifteen feet with no signs of slowing down until the fire department put it out. Then a tow truck loaded up the remains. It wasn’t pretty.
    4. As a cop for 33 years, yes. Bunch of times. Sometimes it was in the wee hours of the morning where the only opposing traffic was rats. And sometimes you turned on the siren and blue light and held your breath.
    5. My little truck I drive now is perfect for my bumping around needs. It’s a ’95 Nissan pickup with a 4 cylinder that sips gas. When I bought it in 2000, I put in a jamming sound system and a camper on the back. I live close to the Smokies, and I can load it up with gear and go camping on a whim. Just last October I went camping in the Nantahala National Forest. I wanted to travel light, so I slept in the back of it. After racing around Memphis in police cars for 33 years, I feel like a cat that has used up 8 of its lives, and I poke around my little town like a Pee-Paw.
    6. Walk. I need the exercise.
    7. Few people get to drive my truck. But if they do, I don’t fret about it. It’s only a machine here to serve me, and not vice versa.

  12. I love these. Thanks, everyone. It’s not doing a thing for my car-lust, though, but only a bank account infusion will do that.

    -big sigh-

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