I found out today that my parents had sold my car a few months ago. That was news I knew was coming, but it still really made me sad. Perhaps that sounds a little crazy, but that was my first and only car. I had that little thing in high school. It was all my own. Sentimental feelings can get in the way of rational reactions. That’s why I cried today at the loss of a friend.
Big Red was a 1990 Ford Probe SS. It was really ugly. All red with all red interior. But it had hidden headlights and that was pretty sick. Somehow this little car became synonymous with me. It little bit ugly, rough around the edges and probably not as nice as it should be. But we always, always played good music.
I relish those memories of driving around the Wisconsin countryside with the windows rolled down – Agent Orange’s Living in Darkness blaring. There was no working air conditioning for the first four years I owned Big Red, so the windows were always rolled down. The springs were out in the front of the car, so every time I turned the wheel there would be a loud CRACK. It bounced and squeaked as we drove through parking lots. You can’t say that we didn’t turn heads.
When I was in high school I listened to Rod Stewart’s “Maggie Mae” as I pulled into town. Something about being in that little hatch-back made me feel cozy and hidden from that world I hated to much. Stewart’s song in that car sounded mint. It helped me feel like I was going to get out of where I was stuck.
One Spring in college I didn’t listen to anything other than Jane’s Addiction. “City Song” would come on and the windows would be rolled down again – hand out in the cold air.
In the city there is something to see
In the city there is nothing to breathe
I’m goin’ ’bout my business
I’m wondering what I’m missing
It’s difficult to let go of the past. Especially when it was filled with so many good memories. That stupid actually car meant a lot. So I’ll miss you, Big Red. You ugly piece of crap. I hope the transmission finally went out because no one is allowed to drive you other than me.
Here’s my ode to the last remaining memory of a great car that got me to where I am. My theme song to my Probe, “Roadrunner.”
I think what scares me the most is that I just lost a piece of me that made me feel like I was still an American.