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Look, we all have that dream car. We all do, don't deny it. We all have seen or heard about that car we have to have. No matter what we do, we must have that car. I have had the same dream car since I was about 17. It's been a 1967 Chevy Chevelle SS, and it is the only car that I would ever own that would be a manual, because I am strictly an automatic driver—always have been, always will be. But this article isn't about the dream car, it is about our first car, which is just as poetic as that dream car that we all hope to get. I look back, and while my first car was a piece of shit, it was mine. I bought it with my own money, I didn't have help with it, I didn't rely on others to buy it for me. I bought it. I could call it mine. It was my first bit of freedom when I was a kid; it was my whole world. I could go and do whatever I wanted. I had a way to leave the house and travel around, go to the movies, go to work, and not have to wait or, god, hope someone would want to take me. No, I had something that could do all of that at the snap of my fingers.
My first car I will never forget. It was my 1995 Saturn SL1. It had 145k miles on it, it was purple, it was an automatic, it was ugly, it was small, plastic pieces breaking off of it all the time; it was falling apart by the time I sold it, but I'll tell you, it never failed me. Never. It may have needed work now and again, but all cars do, but that engine and that transmission never failed me. It would start each and every time, any condition, any weather, any temperature. No matter what, it would start. It would go into gear, it would drive, and I could drive forever and it would go and go and go. It was a marvelous feeling, and something I will always remember. I have many memories in that car, from the times I would drive my friends and I to the lake the swim, to the movies, to the smoke store to buy cigars, to the fast food joints where we would self indulge in all the fat and grease we could afford. The car has a four cylinder engine, would put out I would say around 110 horsepower. So speed was not its strong suit, but it worked. I would be mocked and laughed at because of the fact it was a Saturn, the "old woman" car, and it was purple. Oh god, out of everything, that was the worst part; the fact it was purple. Nothing else bothered me as much as the purple, but for such an old car, a paint job would have cost 4,500 dollars, and the car was worth maybe 1,000 dollars. If I wanted to, I would've. I would have painted it black. I remember that clear as day—it would've been black. Anything to get rid of that god forsaken purple.
But alas, I was a fool, and I sold that car for an even worse hunk of junk. And that, my friends, is my biggest regret. I wish I could've kept that car. I would have cleaned it up; I would've fixed it up. It would've been cheap to do. But like a lot of things in this world, you lose them. I loved that car, but I couldn't really appreciate it till after I lost it. It's funny how your perspective of things changes as time goes on. I would've kept that car, and I would have bought something nicer. The Saturn would be just my daily driver, and my nicer car would be the one I would drive sparingly. That's how I would've done it differently, but that's the funny thing about time; you can never get it back, and it goes away in the blink of an eye. The car represented a far simpler time, when my summers would be work, fun, and movies. That would be it. I would work maybe 20 hours a week, if that, so the rest of the time would be spent hanging out with friends, going to every movie that would come out during the summer. We were there every weekend, driving up in that stupid purple Sedan. But if I could go back, I would. I miss those times, and it really wasn't till much later that I could really appreciate those times. I look back fondly, but it's sort of bittersweet, because I will never get it back even though I would do anything to go back, even for a day.