Mommy Wants Vodka

…Or A Mail-Order Bride

Old Blue


The carpool lane in my high school consisted primarily of hand-me-down’s from parents, which makes sense – you want to give your old car to your kid so:

a) you can get a new one.

2) teenagers are terrible on cars.

The difference between my high school and others is that meant my best of friends drove things like the last model Lexus sports cars and the BMW 8 series that had phones built into it. Yep. Car phones. Back before we had cell phones glued to our ears, we had car phones and landlines, remember those, kids? Phones are the things you use to call people and have a conversation that doesn’t have to occur in abbreviated form.

It didn’t bother me – STC is a fairly affluent area and I’ve grown up here, so it’s not like it was a particular culture shock. Because my parents didn’t (rightly) trust me to own a car without somehow banging it up like I did the day after I got my license, I didn’t own a car of my own. Instead, because I lived in the center of town, it was fairly easy to glom rides off my friends so that we could drive co-centric circles around the school, smoking cigarettes and wondering if we should bother going to class or head downtown and make mischief.

When I graduated high school, the elaborate parties my friends had were intense. You know that horrifying Sweet Sixteen (and Pregnant? I can’t keep that stuff straight) show on MTV where kids are all, I WANT JUSTIN BEAVER AT MY PARTY DADDY AND A PONY AND A DIAMOND TIARA. It was like that, except there were ice sculptures and a hell of a lot less snot-nosed asshole kids – STC may be more affluent, but the people here are genuinely kind.

Rather than a pony on roller-skates or John C. Mayer crooning about my body being a wonderland to my throngs of teen friends, I had a backyard BBQ with some friends that lasted well into the wee hours of the night. Lots of debauchery and drinking occurred, but I wore jeans and a t-shirt and my Daddy didn’t drive into the backyard with a new Mercedes.

Which is good because I may have murdered him.

For my graduation gift, rather than a yacht named “Becky Rules,” which I spent an inordinate time scribbling on things that were not my own, I got a car. A used car. It was a car that had been used by my brother’s wife’s mother for many years. It may have been born before I was.

And while my high school boyfriend drove a Beemer – the kind you have to special order – that often contained gold bricks and wads of twenties stashed in the doors, I was pretty happy with my old Dodge Shadow. It may have been the color of baby poop (a guess – I’m colorblind), the doors may not have closed all the way, and shit, the oil was always leaking all over the damn place, but it was mine. All mine.

Old Blue

My boyfriend’s car was snazzier than mine and probably had more money in it than I’ll ever have, hands motherfucking DOWN, but my car was my own, which is why I loved it. Probably the ugliest car you ever saw, but I could, at the very least, jam my Tool tapes (yes tapes, not 8-tracks) into the boombox and sing along to Opiate – one of my favorite albums EVER, and go to all the places whenever I wanted to.

Driving has always been my best therapy. Full tank of gas and a half a pack of smokes? It’s time to get the Band Back Together, motherfuckers. I spent hours stupidly driving the thing (I say stupid because it tried to kill me) around town and back, exploring roads that I’d never been down before, and when I’d return home, it was like all my problems had vanished.

While my compatriots in the carpool had leather seats and built-in CD players, mine had chalk drawings on the ceiling and incense burning from the cup holder (the thing was unable to properly store tasty beverages).

On the driver’s side door, just above the window, I’d written this in neon green chalk:

“This is not an exit.”

And it never was.


What was your first car, Pranksters?

Really wish THIS had been my first car.

34 Comments to

“Old Blue”

  1. On September 6th, 2012 at 1:20 pm Becky Mochaface Says:

    I had a turquoise Plymouth Sundance, which is like the Dodge Shadow’s twin brother.

  2. On September 6th, 2012 at 1:29 pm Luna Says:

    Well, I totalled the first car my parents let me drive (NOT my fault, though I did get blamed for it legally – my word against his. I was 17. He was an adult with 3 kids in the car. My light was green. His was red, but he couldn’t see because of the sunset. My witness disappeared while I was calling my parents). But that was not MY car. It was theirs that I was allowed to drive. My first car was a 1977 Cutlass Supreme. I bought it for $800 from the guys who ran the gas station I worked at. I was 18. I named her Dixie. She sucked back gas, and stalled if anyone but me drove her. My boyfriend (now husband) hated driving it – the aforementioned stalling problem, but rather enjoyed it when I drove him around that winter, because that baby had the best heater ever, and we lived in the prairies. When our baby was born in 1995, my husband’s dad bought the car from me for $500 and sold it to his sister-in-law. She only had it a few months when she hit a deer at 120km/hr, killing the deer and totalling the car. She was fine though. Thank God for good old American cars.

  3. On September 6th, 2012 at 1:29 pm Rebecca Says:

    My first car was called “My Little Ho” It was a horizon.

  4. On September 6th, 2012 at 1:30 pm Luna Says:

    Oh, and the car I totalled was a Lancer. Before they were cool. Much like a Sundance or Shadow, actually.

  5. On September 6th, 2012 at 6:46 pm Rachael Dominguez Says:

    A '76. Chevy Nova 8 cyl with bench seats and no muffler. Good times! It was my boyfriend's dad's car and he needed the money and I needed the car. Win win.

  6. On September 6th, 2012 at 1:46 pm Loco YaYa Says:

    oh AB, i adore you more and more every. single. day. my first car that was mine (read paid for completely because it was so cheap that my dad bought it and a new steering cover) was a….are you ready…..seriously….. red DODGE SHADOW. i know!!! it was standard too. two door hatchback i loved that thing. and when i got in trouble it was because i was out. driving. by myself. all the fuck over. with the windows down and half a pack of smokes. driving cleared my head. and it still does. even if my current transportation is a KIA.

  7. On September 6th, 2012 at 2:02 pm FFW Says:

    Mine was a ’71 VW bug, bought for $900. I loved that damn thing, and worked on it more than I worked on my boyfriend, which is probably why we weren’t all, “TLF” and “TLA” like I wrote in my notebooks. It got me back and forth to my jobs at the Jack in the Box Drivethru, the bakery, and the health food store. It took me and my drunk friends to the subway to join the rest of the class on field trips (back when drunkily eaten McDonalds Sausage McMuffins were good—dipped in ketchup). It fishtailed us out of the parking lot each day, overloaded with my “Mod” friends (this was before “Goth” was invented. It acquired the blood of a certain GreenDay lead singer, who was fighting with our local teen band.

    I miss it, and I sold it for $50 less than I bought it, two years later.

  8. On September 6th, 2012 at 2:23 pm Sean Nordquist Says:

    1977 Honda Civic Wagon… brown, with the hood paint looking somewhat like dried orange peel. Skate and surf stickers all over the back, and a totally Millenium Falcon-rigged stereo that KILLED it when I blasted Eazy-E and NWA on the streets of Santa Monica… this was 1987. I ruled the goram world…

  9. On September 6th, 2012 at 2:56 pm Karen in Texas Says:

    A 1971 Vega. Puke yellow. I loved in Colorado and the damn thing had trouble making it up a hill. I hated that car.

    But…. years and many cars later, when I got divorced at the age of 21 with a 2 year old and my crappy ex kept the car, I bought a 1971 Cutlass for $300. Its heater and AC didn’t work and it burned a quart of oil a week. It got me to work and daycare, even if it did stall out whenever it rained.

  10. On September 6th, 2012 at 3:11 pm chrisinphx Says:

    A maroon 1978 Checy Nova with 2 doors. It had a leaky gas tank that could only hold 5 bucks at a time, however it was 1996 so 5 bucks of gas would last all week. The interior was also “maroon” but after 20+ years in chicago the outside was mostly rust and the interior faded to a lovely pink. I drove it for 3 years and NEVER put anything other than gas into it.
    Traded it for a 91 Ford Probe….that had a Motorola phone handing off the side of the console!

  11. On September 6th, 2012 at 3:17 pm MustangGina Says:

    A 1984 “Canyon red” Mustang L. I loved that thing! Still have it….or what’s left of it. Just waiting to win the lottery so I can restore it!

  12. On September 6th, 2012 at 3:20 pm Delfin Joaquin Paris III Says:

    I grew up in Peoria IL, where people are mostly normal. So, even though my friends came from affluent households, everybody’s house was about the same size and we all drove hand-me down cars. You’d be considered an asshole if you had a BMW.

    Not one person in my high school had a car like that. Thank God.

    That being said, I actually had a pretty nice car — that had 200k miles on it — it was a Merkur XR4Ti. It has a double spoiler on the back. Hilarious. It was my dad’s.

    But at least it was stick shift. Everyone’s first car should be a stick.

  13. On September 6th, 2012 at 3:26 pm Sue Elisabeth Says:

    A green VW bug, stick shift, and my cat had her freakin babies in the backseat. Little slut.

  14. On September 6th, 2012 at 3:51 pm The Management Says:

    my first car?

    a 1982 camaro.

    and I was born in 1989.

    I thought/think I’m pretty cool, getting myself a “vintage” car right off the bat…

    *slow head shake*

  15. On September 6th, 2012 at 4:02 pm Jolie Says:

    1978 Grand prix. It was purple – like REAL purple, not lavender, fuschia, or whatever, like the purple crayola crayon. It had black “crushed velour” interior. It had been through a flood, and I got it for a whopping $600 in ’90 when I got my license. I lovingly referred to it as Bart. Hey, the Simpsons were huge then. One day the lugnuts came off of the front driver tire, as I took a turn, and it was like driving a bucking horse. The doors had to weigh 8,000 pounds each though, I was safe as can be, and climbed out the passenger side. Poor Bart. Got the door pounded out but then it squeaked an evil squeak. After driving it another month or two, Dad said it was time to trade it in. Ahhh memories. It had an awesome stereo and I think it had “glass packs” on it b/c it had a wicked rumble. And the spedometer cable broke while I had it, so it was like “eh, go what everyone else is going”. lol

  16. On September 6th, 2012 at 4:10 pm Sherry Says:

    A 1974 Chevy Malibu Classic. Two does, light green with a white landau roof. Don’t hate.

  17. On September 6th, 2012 at 4:11 pm Sherry Says:

    Doors not does

  18. On September 6th, 2012 at 9:19 pm Karen Jake Says:

    an '83 Pontiac Phoenix with leaky heads and an ever-increasing primer spot on the hood.

  19. On September 6th, 2012 at 7:07 pm Grace Says:

    1981 Chevy Blazer. It was a TANK!! After the engine blew (while my ex-husband was driving it – serves the bastard right!), he talked me into selling it to the mechanic who was working on it. I resented him for it and always swore I’d get another one just like it one day.

    Right after marrying Surfer Pirate, there she was! I would have sworn it was the same one – the color was almost exactly the same as the custom color I’d chosen. Only now, this one was an ’87, and had a big, mean looking grill on the front. As soon as it was safely in my driveway, I hugged it. I’ve told my husband that if I die first, he has to bury me in the blazer.

  20. On September 6th, 2012 at 10:31 pm Menopausalmother Says:

    It was a silver Grand Pre (geez, did I even spell that right?) and the model was something like late 70’s. It had this crazy crushed red velvet interior and a sun roof (which was a big deal back then). It was a used car but in great condition (and a terrible gas guzzler but who cared? Gas was cheap back then). It was a two-door, and this doors were as heavy as the side of a tank. I LOVED that car, but got into an accident less than a year of owning it—the car saved my life essentially, but it had to be totaled afterwards. Damn if I didn’t cry for WEEKS afterwards. i still think about that car….. FROM:

  21. On September 7th, 2012 at 12:14 am jeri Says:

    My first (sort of) car was being able to use my parent’s Plymouth Duster (so very cool) in exchange for driving DOD to the train every morning of my summer vacation. At 6 AM! Every morning! Of my summer vacation! Day one I got into a fender bender in the parking lot. They made me pay for the damages. Next day, I went out and bought myself a very cool bicycle and slept in.

  22. On September 7th, 2012 at 12:55 am Kim@Amommaly Says:

    I purchased, for $800 dollars worth of squandered waitressing and babysitting money, my first car my senior year of high school. It was a 1986 Dodge Lancer, in a warm tone of rusty burgundy with matching and lovingly embroidered burgundy velour-ish seats.

    It was a stick shift, which at the time, I had no clue how to drive. But, after many nights in the boardwalk parking lot in the middle of winter and an almost-burned-through clutch, I learned. The rest, as they say, is history. It lasted ALL THE WAY until my JUNIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE, and was towed away to the junkyard never to be seen again.

    I have more memories driving around in that car than any other since then.

    ***I also had a brief stint owning a 1989 Dodge Shadow, in a bold and interesting turquoise.

    Thanks for sharing, took my mind off shit for awhile, made me smile. 🙂

  23. On September 7th, 2012 at 6:14 am Paul Schatz Says:

    Your ability to write, just write, exactly what you think, what you know, without internal or external censorship is one of the joys of my life. Carry on.

  24. On September 7th, 2012 at 2:18 am Liz Says:

    Girl, I love your posts. May I say that it is about time you put some ads up in here? I think my fellow Pranksters will agree that we want you to have the resources to continue writing. Also, while I’m on the subject, why hasn’t (un)crustables started advertising on here? I never thought of picking one up until your blog.

  25. On September 7th, 2012 at 12:29 pm Caroline Beausejour Says:

    I still have my first car…..I bought it myself. $10,000.00 cash that I had gathered from babysiting and working in camps during the summer. I was 19 and from an upper middle class family but I did not get a car for any of my birthdays and you know what…..I'm happy with that. The feeling I had when I left the dealership in my new (used) car was the most amazing thing. I had shoped for a year, had found the one, went to the dealership with my money and gave it to the guy saying "you give me this one….now". It was a 2004 Suzuki (bought it in 2007). It's not in premium shape anymore (I'm a rough driver) but I still love it. My best friend just got a new car and she likes to make fun of mine but I don't care. It's mine and it's the best 🙂

  26. On September 7th, 2012 at 7:31 am E3Writing Says:

    Opiate is your favourite? I knew we were secretly best friends 😉

  27. On September 7th, 2012 at 7:45 am Menopausalmother Says:

    Tried leaving a comment earlier and it never posted for some reason so here goes again…first car was a late 70’s model Grand Pre (spelling?) silver with crushed red velvet interior and a sun roof (which was a big deal back in the day!), I got it used and it was my FAVORITE car. Only had it a year when I got into a big car accident–the sheer size and weight of the car literally saved my life—and the car had to be totaled. I cried for WEEKS after losing that car. Still think about it and miss driving it…. FROM:

  28. On September 7th, 2012 at 12:50 pm Marcia Kester Doyle Says:

    OK 3rd time for me to try to leave a comment—it doesn't show up every time I try to post. Here goes….first car was a late model Grand Pre (spelling?) that was silver with crushed red velvet interior and a sun roof (which was a big deal back in the day). I LOVED that car and only had it a year when I got into a big car accident. The sheer size and weight of the car literally saved my life, but the car had to be totaled. I cried for WEEKS after losing that car. Still think about it and miss it after all these years… FROM

  29. On September 7th, 2012 at 8:40 am Erin T Says:

    My first car was my mother’s ’76 Aspen Wagon. That shit was electric blue with wood paneling, no floor board in the front passenger and the muffler rolling around in the back. It was one hell of a car for Naperville in when nearly my entire graduating class all received the ’95 Mustang 5.0… My brother’s car was my Aunt’s old mustard yellow Chevy Supreme. The back bumper was ripped off in a fit of rage by a classmate and replaced with a 2 x 4 spray painted blue. He decided to spray paint the vinyl cover black and allow his friends to scratch shit into the paint and draw all over the interior… Classy for sure!

  30. On September 7th, 2012 at 8:50 am roxie Says:

    Mine was a 1985 For Tempo. It looked like a car that would be driven by a low level govt emp.

  31. On September 7th, 2012 at 9:36 am roxie Says:

    Ford, not For. Also, it was dark blue, almost black. So, yeah, just calle me Jr Agent Roxie! 🙂

  32. On September 7th, 2012 at 3:07 pm Melanie Carnie Kerton Says:

    My first car was a 1986 Chrysler Laser…. it was 10 yrs old and I paid half of it with money I earned BABYSITTING FOR YEARS… (I still remember handing my parents that $1200)… I was responsible for all repairs, insurance and fuel and I loved that car.

  33. On September 7th, 2012 at 10:20 am Triplezmom Says:

    I got a new Honda Civic hatchback when I could drive precisely because it was still cheaper than my parents’ very nice, fairly new cars. My car had no air-conditioning, no power steering, no power windows and no tape player (or 8 track) and I loved it with a passion I have not felt for a car since.

  34. On September 10th, 2012 at 3:46 am Devan Says:

    1974 Plymouth Duster, baby shit green. I ran the bitch clean out of oil and it shit the bed on the side of the road less than a week before I was going into the Air Force. My mom told the tow truck guy, If he would tow it – he could have it. He got it running again. Later someone else that went to my high school could take 100 of THEIR closest friends anywhere they wanted to go. This thing had nothing power and NO radio at all. I took my walkman headphones and hung them around the rear-view and cranked that fucker UP! LOL, oh good times!

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