Sometimes in life, we are presented with situations that can have a lasting impact on our lives. The only caveat…we don’t know that until they are already over.
Those that know me, know I am obsessed with my car. It is a relationship that borders on being unhealthy, but we all need our guilty pleasures and at least mine goes fast. Luckily, my wife is as in to cars as I am and even though she hates hatchbacks…she loves the way it drives. That gets me out of the doghouse at least for a little while when my mechanical engineer wife sees parts change on the car.
I have been obsessed with cars from the very beginning. If I recall correctly, my first word was even car. This story actually starts back when I had just turned 16 and bought my first car (with help from my parents). It was a 5 speed lifted 91 Jeep Wrangler. I loved it but when I first got it…I didn’t know how to drive a stick.
That same week. I bought a sub/box that was specifically made for the trunk of the Wrangler. The previous owner (who was dating a friend of my parents at the time) showed up to our house with the box and sub in a white convertible 944 Turbo Cabriolet. It was pristine. I swear the owner wiped it with unicorn feathers. To my surprise, he actually asked if I wanted to drive the car. I warned him ahead of time, “I dont’ really know how to drive a stick”. He didn’t care and told me to get in the drivers seat.
The events that proceeded involved a lot of stalling but I eventually got the hang of it and we were off and driving. That experience fed my love of cars even more and obviously I still remember ever second to this day.
Where this story actually makes sense…
Fast forward to present time.
Our neighbors across the street had been hosting their niece and nephew for about a month from up north. Apparently the nephew had been starring at my car for the entire time wanting a ride for weeks before he conned my neighbor into asking. I took him out for a ride and hit full boost a couple of times to get him to feel how the car really drove and he was addicted instantly. I loved every second of it as I remembered being 15 and getting rides in fast cars. It is awesome. I even scared him a little bit with one of my favorite turns.
About a week and a half later, we are at our neighbors house having dinner and drinks because we were moving soon. The nephew is still there and comes in the room. We start talking about the car and I have an instant flashback to my Porsche experience. I knew right then…
I have to let him drive the car.
It was raining outside, dark as hell and he had never even touched a manual before. To make matters worse, my car now has a 6 puck clutch to handle the new found 430 ft. lbs. of torque and that is not the easiest to drive.
Starting off…things were just as rocky as my Porsche experience. Multiple stalls and the car hadn’t even moved 5 feet. I kept my patience (just like the guy did with me) and talked him through the process of clutch release vs. gas pedal engagement. After a couple more tries, he got the car moving. Over the next 15 to 20 minutes, we ended up stopping and starting the car multiple times and he made several laps around the neighborhood. It was an awesome experience and he was getting a hang of the car on the weekend before he was going back up north…until the last second…
As I told him to pull the car to the house on the street (our driveway sucked)…it happened.
“Just pull it up to the curb and we are good”. He pulled it up and then I heard the worst sound you can hear. My wheels were getting trashed on the curb. When I say trashed…I don’t mean just a little bit. When we got out of the car, my matte black wheel’s lip was completely chunked up. I didn’t’ say anything…even though I know he heard it…and we went back into the house. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see my passenger side, front wheel looks like it has a chrome/polished lip. It is not supposed to be that way. That is all curb rash. $140 dollars later, my wheels were fixed and everything was good again.
When I started telling the story to the car friends of mine…most of them said the same thing. “I can’t believe you let him drive your car to begin with!”
Here is the reality. It is just a car. Even if I am obsessed with every little detail, the experiences I make with the car are more important than the sum of the parts. There was some guy that barely knew me that gave me that same experience and it made a profound impact on my love of the automobile. When I was faced with the same situation on the other side, I was able to give back that same feeling to someone else. That is more important and memorable than any part on my car. Honestly, there are only two things that beat it: When my wife gets funny looks from guys for dropping them and when my son laughs his ass off in the back seat when I hit boost.
After the entire situation happened…I sat back and thought about how cool it was that I was presented with the same situation that I remember so vividly on the other side of the equation. I am glad that I let him drive the car and I hope he is presented with the same scenario some day. Parts can be fixed. It is very rare in life that we are presented with situations like this…and when we are…we should take advantage.
This story isn’t meant to be a “look how awesome I am” self pat on the back. I actually look at it much differently. After it was all complete…I was grateful for the experience I had.