Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The most Fun I've had all Week!


I wanted to surprise William with a car for his birthday tomorrow and when I saw this VW Bug posted on the employee classified boards at work yesterday I was so sure my search was over! A 1974 ragtop Super Beetle, I mean, what could be more fun? And, when William wasn't driving it, it could be mine - all mine!

Turns out that I wasn't the only one excited about it because by the time I called the seller at noon he told me he raised his ad price by $500 due to the demand his car was creating at our offices. Then he told me I could get in line to see/drive it on Wednesday because that's when his wife planned to bring it over to conduct a mass-showing to everyone that called him. I told him I'd give him his new price + $200 if he agreed to show it to me today, ahead of their mass-showing plan, and he jumped! Come on now.... doesn't he know who I am!?

You know, there's just something about a VW Bug - that emotional attachment we all feel for them for one reason or another; and, I am always feeling it, big time. I won't lie; I openly admit to the reason I swoon over the red VW Bugs I see. It's actually rather simple. The only Junction City boy I ever loved drove one. He was beautiful... Tall, blond and his Bug was red.

But this really is about buying my 17-year old a car... (repeat five times until it feels true, Janet)

Fact is, I had one of my very own for a while. It was a 1968 VW Bug we bought shortly after moving back to California from Virginia in 1986. The body and interior was perfect. I only paid $600 but had to put a new engine in it about six months later. About a year after that my dad took an interest in it and had one of the soldiers that worked for him paint it cherry red for me at the auto body shop at Ft. Ord.

It was so pretty! We put brand new bumpers and chrome on it and we even replaced all the rubber around the windows and windshield. I was so excited when I saw it roll out of the paint booth that Saturday afternoon and I couldn't wait to drive it to school Monday morning. In fact, I left early that morning to allow myself extra time to get to class because I planned to park my pretty little Bug far away from everyone else.

Sadly, my Bug and I never made it to school that morning because I was the first car hit in what ended up being a 12-car pile up caused by, are you ready for this? An uninsured, 17-year old driver! I'd just come off HWY 1 and was stopped behind traffic backed up on the Fremont exit. And, while I was able to stop in plenty of time, this kid didn't. The impact of that great big truck he was driving against my bumper popped my Bug out from behind the car in front of me and sent me flying down the right side of all ten cars lined up at the light at the bottom of the hill. As my Bug scraped down the side of all those cars all I could do was hold on and pray it would be over soon. I remember vividly the grinding noise against the door and seeing lots of red paint and finally the fender as it tore away and flew up and over the roof.

Even worse than what I saw outside was what was going on inside my Bug because as they sometimes do when older Bugs are rear-ended, the driver seat released off the floor track sending me into the windshield head first. And, when the seat belt buckle hit the steering wheel and pushed into my belly my water broke because I was six months pregnant with Brandon at the time.

When they finally got me out of the car and to the emergency room for an ultrasound I was told there was no heartbeat. But a little while later when my OB arrived to do his own ultrasound, he found Brandon - He told me Brandon was just turned around, facing my back and that he was sleeping. I was never so happy to hear anything in my life! I was put on bed rest to give Brandon more time but time ran out for us at about 32 weeks and he was born prematurely.

After that whole ordeal I had no desire for another Bug. In fact, I was determined to put a whole bunch of Swedish steel around me and Brandon so I bought the biggest Volvo sedan I could find. I'll never forget the size of the trunk - it was huge!

Any way, I took this Super Beetle for a test drive early this morning and it was as much fun as I remembered! As soon as I popped into the springy little seat I was young again! It's been 22 years since some worthless piece of sh*t stole my MGB, and it's been twenty since my Bug was crashed so it's been at least that long since I've driven a stick-shift. Still, I took to it this morning just like it was yesterday! To the left and down for reverse and 1, 2, 3, 4 in the H-pattern; I was perfect! That familiar ringing sound of the air-cooled engine and the warm air flowing over my feet from the floorboard. Ah, memories!

Overall, the car is in fantastic shape for its age; unfortunately though, this Bug would frustrate the crap out of my dear, sweet William so I had to pass on it.

It was really hard... I mean, I was first so it was mine if I wanted it and I'd already been to the bank so all that cash was burning a hole. But I know it's impossible for William to see this car through my lens and neither of my sons possess the appreciation I feel for these cars... Additionally, with William's size 13 shoe and the flip-flops he likes to wear like dinnerplate-sized coasters on the bottom of his feet, there is no way he'd be able to negotiate those tiny clutch and brake peddles down there, let alone maintain the coordination and patience required to get used to driving a stick shift. I know this boy well, and there is No way!

Nevertheless, for a moment this morning I was back in my youth so this test drive goes down as the most fun I've had all week!

One thing is clear though - While this wasn't the car for William and it's true it would be impractical for me to buy it today just for me, I will one day own another vintage VW Bug. Hopefully it will be the white convertible I've always wanted.

Oh, and by the way - I just checked the employee classified site again, and he's raised the price another $500 - Wow!

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