Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Old Cars

There are two old cars parked on the block where my office is located. They are there everyday, but I don't know who drives them. One is a Volvo, the other is a BMW. These are the only cars on the block I ever notice--the only ones I like. New Volvos are some of the ugliest cars around, but I would rather drive this old one than almost any new car. Why are new cars so ugly? Ads like that one that tries to entice the customer by putting the new Jaguar alongside a vintage Jaguar just make me think "Yeah, where can I get one of those old Jaguars?"

Old cars were made with an idea of what they would look like on a street--an accompaniment to architecture around them. New cars seem made to keep the street out.


Kaela said...
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Kaela said...

When my family had a car, we had an old maroon volvo from 1989. It was two years younger than me but I always related to it as something older, a wise and elderly being that sputtered and lurched through the streets with its accumulated oil-scented knowledge.

I've never thought of it this way before, but you're right–– it did match the brownstones. It matched the old oak tree outside our front stoop (when we got that spot), it matched the crumbling Baptist church on our block. Pre-pubescently, I swore I would only ever drive an old 80s Volvo, and I wouldn't bother to learn if that wasn't an option. I still don't know how to drive, but whenever I think about getting lessons I start looking for those old Volvos on the streets. I rarely see them, and their absence takes the wind out of my resolutions. My mother always called ours a "tank" and swore no harm would come to us if we were inside it. I have no faith in other cars, only fear.

Ours died while I was away in California at my first semester of school. The engine woke up one morning and promptly died with the eqivalent of multiple organ failure. It went on Craigslist, and an old Dominican couple from Newark called within ten minutes. They had always loved old Volvos, and they had a spare engine lying around. They towed it to their lot, and that was that. I still keep an eye out for it, but we have yet to cross paths again...

(i edited this slightly. post-commenting eyesight is suddenly keener.)