Clunker car teaches lesson

Every car has certain quirks, qualities that make them distinct and unique.

Cars older than high school students generally have more of these distinctions.

While these older cars fall into two different categories, they both have similar characteristics.

All old cars are heard before they are seen, spoken about as they drive by. They are distinct and unique.

But this is where the two different categories come into play. Some old cars are renowned for their stunning beauty, perfect paint, roaring engine and classic interior.

And then some cars, like mine, are quite the opposite.

High school students stereotypically have old beater cars but my 1995 Toyota Corolla brings the term “beater” to the next level. I call her “Old Bessy” along with a multitude of other farm-animal names.

When you first start my car, the engine does not “purr” or roar to life. It in fact begins to emit a blood-curdling squeal for several moments.

After a minute or so, the squealing ceases. Until you turn a corner, then it promptly starts shrieking again and draws the attention of everyone nearby.

The windshield wipers barely work, which proves difficult living in a state with 11 months of rainy season.

During the one month with minimal rain, lots of insects and dust particles cover the windshield, clouding view. When you use the wiper fluid to clean this off, it simply impairs the ability to see. The ancient wipers simply smear the dirt around.

Along with these things, the driver’s seat of Old Bessy is slightly leaning to the left which is somewhat annoying and distracting.

All in all, Old Bessy has many… quirks.

Her beautiful, multicolored body draws the eyes of those who pass by. The screeching fan belts injure ears and turn heads. The fumes emitted from the car, as well as the possibly-rotting interior, are mysterious and offensive.

Simply put, old cars can be completely upsetting to all of man’s senses. Or in some cases, old cars can be images of classic beauty and a view into the olden days.

Either way, having an old car requires a certain mindset. If you have a timeless, well maintained and classic car—be humble. It will make your car seem even more awesome if you remain humble and kind.

And if you have a multicolored, squealing, smelly beauty of a car like many students and I do, rock it.

I have an ugly car.

I know it, the world knows it; there is no hiding it.

If you act like you are ashamed of your clunker, the feelings will just compound.

Accept that you drive a mobile pile of scrap medal. Give her a name like Old Bessy.

Decorate your beast with a Buddha, just so that when you give people rides, you have a conversation starter.  When people stare as you go squawking and squealing by, wave and smile.

Turn what could be embarrassing situations into humorous ones.

I think that in having an old, hideous car; you are learning several life lessons from one experience. First of all, you are learning to be humble. Having a car like mine is nothing to brag about. And once the embarrassment wears off, you have learned another lesson. Deal with the cards that you are dealt. If you have a battered car, there is no point in pouting or feeling bad—it is what it is.

So goes life.

Move past these flaws and funny little quirks of your car. Be thankful for the ability to drive, be forgiving towards yourself and all of life’s little blunders and most of all: be thankful for all that you have.

Even if it’s a squealing, multicolored, quirky car.