Essay, Life

My First Car

I was in the basement when I heard my mom shout from the kitchen, “Brendan, come look at this!” My eyes were glued to the family computer screen for the previous two hours, so it took me a minute to re-shift focus to my mom’s request. I was browsing cars on Craigslist. It was the spring of 2006, and I was a few months away from getting my license – just shy of sixteen-and-a-half-years-old.

I finally realized I should adhere to my moms request. I darted up the stairs and said, “What’s up?” She turned a few pages of a newspaper, which was called the Belmont Town Shopper. I didn’t know a paper like this existed until this very moment. She opens to a page and points to a car. It was a Ford Explorer. The exact car I told her I wanted, and the one I spent the last two hours looking for instead of doing homework.

The year of the car was 1995, so it was eleven-years-old. The color was green. And the mileage was low – in fact, very low. The car had 70,000 miles on it. The car we saw in the Town Shopper that day was one of its kind. We called the owner and made an appointment to check out the car that Saturday. I was ecstatic.

When Saturday came, my mom and I got to the owner’s house, which was only a mile from ours. We took the car for a spin and there was not much deciding to do; we wanted this car. I remember my mom saying, “Brendan, this is perfect for you.” I was shocked. She wanted to get me this car more than I wanted it!

The owner was asking for $5,000, which seemed like a steal to us. My mom and I aren’t the best negotiators. Somehow, my mom being on board for this as much as she was, wrote her own check and handed it to the owner. We bought the first car we looked at.

Sometimes you make a decision that doesn’t last, and sometimes your decisions pay off far beyond your expectation. I got ten years and another 80,000 miles on The Explorer.

In high school, I traveled across New England with it going from hockey rink to hockey rink. I’d also pile friends in and ride to high school events and other social stuff. I also drove it to and from boarding school.

When college came, I drove it short distances every day. From campus to the rink was about three miles, or my off campus house to campus was just under a mile. It made the trek to Philly with me then back to Boston for the last two years of its life. The beauty about The Explorer is almost every big move I made, it was all I needed for the trip. I folded the seat down and packed it to the brim with the living essentials I needed. The other beauty of The Explorer was how many happy times I remember having with it. Whether the voyage at hand was long or short, I loved holding the wheel of the car turning up the nozzle and jamming to music I love. I am one to ponder things, and The Explorer was one of the best places for that.

Early on its life, we called it The Explorer. I think my mom coined it. “Brendan, can I borrow The Explorer for a minute.” About 5 years into its life with me (15-years-old), my friend threw out a name that has also stuck, The Green Monster.

A legend isn’t a legend without a few righteous nicknames, right?

The ten years I had with The Green Monster are over. It can’t pass state inspection, but the memories I describe live on forever.

I wonder what my next car will be? I can assure you at my age today, I will have to be the one to pay for it.