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Thursday, 10 December 2009

What’s Your Choice? - A Second Installment About Cars

By Johna Ferguson

Batman had his Batmobile and James Bond had his Aston Martin DBS, so what do you have?

Ever notice how cars are similar to their owners. You can almost pick out the personality of the main driver or the type of family that uses it when you see a car. It’s not only the make or the style but also the color; not only on the outside but also the interior.

Small men seem to pick large, fancy cars and big men seem to want small ones, especially fast sporty models. Young women want a bright colored one, even bright yellow, but older women usually settle for the blue or silver.

It used to be that there were few car manufacturers so when you looked around, you could usually tell every make and model. Things have changed and the world has been taken over with imports from Japan, Korea and now even China.

Granted there have always been the more expensive imported classy Mercedes, Rolls or Bentleys and of course, the imported sports cars from Italy, Germany, England and Italy, But the general public can not usually afford to drive those luxury automobiles. In the 30s and 40s in the states, the buying populace was left to choose between a Ford, one from General Motors or the third big company, Chrysler.

Also back then, there were fewer styles. You could buy a sedan, a coupe, a station wagon and even a convertible. Now you can buy a minivan, a full sized van, a two- or four-door car, a jeep, a hummer, a hatch back, and so forth. If you have a family you still might want a station wagon, but more likely a van of some sort, especially with four-wheel drive; even if you live where it never snows, you might just get caught in a rain storm and need to get out of a water filled gully or something.

If you are young and free of spirit, a sports car probably is to your liking for they go fast, are snappy looking and usually only hold two - say you and your girl friend or visa versa.

Not only are cars more popular now than ever and come in a variety of price ranges, the end result, at least in big cities, has been gridlock, traffic jams and lots of accidents. Therefore, as a side effect, insurance rates have risen. Another bad side effect is the amount of carbon dioxide they emit into the air even though there are strict emission regulations for new cars. We now have “the greenhouse effect” and that will probably affect us all in the future in some way.

But back to cars, vans or whatever you are driving. How much time did it take you to decide on the car you wanted? Maybe you saw one in the showroom and just had to have it no matter what. Or maybe you really did your homework.

Did you consult Consumer’s Report or some other car book to see how the one you wanted was rated and then did that influence you? Were you more concerned with gas mileage or with the safety rating? Was price the biggest issue or was the brand more important?

And when it came to choosing color, did you, your wife/husband/child help you decide or did you do it on your own? Did you choose the color because you like that color or because it wouldn’t show the dirt, or what?

Yes, I miss a car but at my age, I think I’ve had my last fling behind the wheel of one - but I will never say never. I just might see the perfect auto and feel compelled to buy it. If I had a choice what would I buy? Certainly an imported silver (to match my hair) sports car but an automatic with power steering due to my age and again, certainly not a new one.

Here’s hoping I see what I want before I’m too old to even dream about cars anymore.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Johna - This wonderful piece is yet further evidence that there is zero validity to the next-to-last sentence in your previous post, "A Full Circle", where you said, "I am not car crazy"! - Sandy

I remember the days of sitting on on the fence in our front yard with my brother and sister playing a game we made up called, "That's my car." We took turns and each car that passed became "my car" for the one whose turn it was. And we would name the cars: Chevy Bel Air, Ford Edsel, VW Beetle and so on.

You're right; Johna, there are so darned many makes, styles, models that the only ones I can pick out any more are the Hondas, and that's only because I have driven Hondas for 30 years.

By the way, I'm 64 and my car is red and sporty.

Thanks for an interesting post.

I started out with a used 1955 green and ivory Chevy and from there other Chevys, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, Jeeps, etc. I had no help with the Chevys; my husband had input with the others until about six years ago. We were involved in an accident. My husband was driving. The jeep was totaled. I banged my head quite hard and fractured three ribs.
The car I alone chose to drive now after the accident is a white Volvo. I think “safe” when I think Volvo and think “white” to be easily seen.
Great story! Thank you.

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