I saw a huge, old cabin-cruiser of a car on the freeway this morning. It reminded me of the first car that I bought without my parents’ advice.

I was living in Winona, a lovely little town in southeastern Minnesota at the time. I hated it. It was backwards and provincial and isolated.

Well it was isolated for me, because I went without a car for 9 months. There was only one cab, and an occasional bus. When I wanted to see friends or family, I had to call the cab, and hope it took me downtown in time to catch the Greyhound bus to Rochester.

One of my co-workers, Hi, was trying to sell me his car for $1500. It was a nice-looking, low-mileage tank from the 1970’s. It was big and heavy. And it was way, WAY out of my price range, so I kept walking, busing and cabbing.


Then, one day at work, Hi said he’d drop the price to $300. Wow, what a deal!

Turns out, he’d been broadsided at an intersection the day before. The whole passenger side was caved in, the doors were mangled shut, and the frame was bent so far out of shape that the doors could never be fixed. I snapped it right up.

I drove it to Dad’s and parked it in front of his house, with the good side showing. I told him all about the wonderful deal I’d made without his help. He asked a few questions about mileage and such, and grudgingly conceded that I’d gotten a good bargain. Later, I showed the family the other side of the car.

When No.8 Sis saw the car for the first time, she dubbed it “The Snot-mobile”, due to its unfortunate yellow-green color. It didn’t stop her from wanting to be chauffeured around, though.

Often, when I was driving down the road, people would stare and point at the right side of my lovely new car. If we pulled up together at a red light, they’d roll down their window and ask what happened. I’d reply, “What? What are you talking about?” They’d say, “The big dent…” “Oh my god, my car has a dent?”, I’d yelp, and act all freaked out. I don’t know what they thought, but it was fun for me.

And really, that’s all that counts.

Stay tuned…