My name is Steph Willems, and this is my confession:
I’ve got it bad. For cars, that is.
Yes, I’m the quintessential gasoline-in-the-blood, cars-over-sports gearhead who loves the smell of exhaust in the morning and dreams more about getting there than actually reaching the destination.
The first word I can recall reading was three letters outlined in red neon, spinning atop a pole outside of a service station. The car I was riding in when that occurred, if I recall correctly, was a green, early 80s Ford Escort wagon. My folks didn’t have that one for long.
My first car? A Plymouth. This outs me as a 1981 baby but also sets me apart from the Millennials who just want PHONES PHONES PHONES!
I don’t care about phones. Phones aren’t sexy. No one ever looks up from a newspaper (on their tablet, I guess) to whistle at a shiny, 1963 Northern Telecom rotary dial rolling past.
Oooo… olive green. So hot. Did you see that handset?
So, cars are my thing. Yes, I’m opinionated. And also sentimental and romantic. And surly, because I’m a writer by trade and you know those guys…
But the passion is there. And the curiosity.
I’m not one of those people who takes four seconds to shift from Reverse to Drive while executing a 3-point turn on a busy roadway. I don’t know who does that, but I don’t hang out with them.
To me, a vehicle should feel like an extension of the body, part of your personal space, rather than a conveyance. A vehicle’s movements should be fluid and natural, with maneuvers carried out with precision and decisiveness. Sometimes, drivers and cars just don’t have that chemistry, and thus, they can’t dance.
No problem like that here.
The great thing about a car is that it can take you places your feet, bike, local bus or plane ticket can’t. Under your singular command, the vehicle goes where you want it, when you want it (assuming it’s not a lemon). And, as a tool for exploring, it opens up whole new horizons.
With any luck, those horizons won’t resemble this: