It's been a relaxing Father's day, and the new t-shirt is really nice - thanks for asking.
I'm just plumped (plomped? slumped?) on the lounge, listening to Sons of Korah, and doing what I do each night: this.
I don't feel lost for a topic tonight, but I gotta say, I ain't especially motivated. So I'll talk about cars, and the little things you love and hate about them, and how they leave their mark.
Growing up we had a VW Kombi. To any surfer or pothead, this car is a god. Not when you're a fifteen-year-old geek with people to impress. It was a source of constant embarrassment.
Nevertheless, there were some cool things about it.
Vinyl everything. Never a spill you couldn't deal with. Probably the only car you could clean inside and out with a high pressure hose. Downsides: hot sunny days (steaming vinyl is ouchy on bare legs), and handling like a shopping trolley. Another positive: lots of space - oh, and a sliding door. Very cool. Summary: a lot like riding in economy class with additional legroom, and without the oxygen masks. Or the trolleys with hot food.
Eventually, my parents went over to Commodores. I remember our first: a VR. Hello, engine. After blobbing along in that fat tin can with a 1.6lt motor, we gained 2.2 additional litres. So much more comfortable than Kombi, and a real driver's car. Downside: personality, where are you? And carpet.
A few Commodores later, I got married. My wife brought a silver '89 Mitsubishi Lancer, known as Mr Binky, into our marriage. One year later I brought Mr Binky into the back of someone else's Hiace van. Mr Binky was cool: not as gutsy as the Commodores, but he had cow-patterned car-set covers (which Cara had dyed purple), and someone had unsuccessfully tried to incinerate him at one stage (battlescars rock). Downside: tight for space, especially rear legroom. And flaky paint. Only car I've ever driven whose engine could run on the mere smell of burned oil and still not seize.
Following Binky was our faithful white V6 Camry wagon. No personality whatsoever, but plenty of get-up and go, and just bullet-proof. Cheap to service, never misses a beat, handles well, great car. And ugly as all hell. I think we'll have this car for a looooong time. Hope so, anyway.
Present work car: Subie Forester. Not real pretty, and not real spacious either. But goes hard, great economy, and grabs the road with a pincerlike grip. Came with a lot of dog hair (which I've nearly eliminated). Standard features on Subies are great, fit-and-finish are awesome, and stereo system has serious 'doof-doof' factor to it. Could see this car growing some personality once I've spilled a few milkshakes in it.
The stand-out of the pack? Probably a tie between the old German tank of my youth, and our present Camry. My mother cried when we traded in the Kombi for a Commodore. This was the car we had holidayed in, fought in, smashed into a roadside drain, and wiped the leaking oil from for 21 years. And the Camry ... what more can I say? If only every car was this reliable and cheap to service.
What are the memorable cars of your life? What did you love? What drove you mad? And what is the 'X' factor that ingrains a particular car in your brain for life?