Ode to the 1996 Honda Civic with the Crayon Stains on the Back Seat and the Seat Belts that Always Get Stuck and the Broken Radio Dial

My car, my sweet car…has been making a low, rumbly sound when I accelerate. Over time, the noise has become noisier. I keep turning the radio up, but the rumbling is fiercely competitive. I think I need a new stereo.

My car, my sweet car…is white. It attracts these small flies. The flies do not bite and they do not buzz. They do make the children shriek and scream. I think I need a new paint job. Lime green or sunshine yellow or the color of whispers and congeniality.

My car, my sweet car…has a lazy right side. The electric window will not go down, no matter how many times I press the button. The right window will go down just fine, but will not slide back up if it comes in contact with any precipitation. I think I need a sunroof, so I can throw the toll bridge tokens out from the top.

My car, my sweet car…is strewn with half-finished art projects, CDs without cases, comic books, baby dolls, and pens. My God, the pens. If ever I owned a pen, it is now hidden in the crevices of the car seats and the cushions. And probably dried up. I think I need a live-in car maid. And some new pens.

My car, my sweet car…has a Minnesota-sized mosquito squished into the driver’s side windshield. It reminds me that I took its life without thinking, only with squishing. It was probably just looking for a way out. Or my blood. I think I need a better bug attitude.

My car, my sweet car…was my father’s before it was mine, and that is why I love it, with all its quirks and irks. Somewhere beneath the ever-increasing rumbling, my car is full of the memories of adolescence. My sweet car.

Add a puppy to The White Car and the car’s minor defects suddenly disappear.


45 responses to “Ode to the 1996 Honda Civic with the Crayon Stains on the Back Seat and the Seat Belts that Always Get Stuck and the Broken Radio Dial

  1. Is her whiteness her flag of desperation (or demise)? She is the final chapter in your father’s auto-memoirs. To this day, he cannot believe he gave her up.

    And those pens have been rolling around in there since its beginning, every one of them yours! LOL

  2. A sweet tribute. πŸ™‚

    But it sounds like the door locks no longer pop up spontaneously as they used to in the earliest days. Ah, the memories!

  3. Awwww…..I had a little blue Volkswagen when the kids were small and we lived in Inuvik. It was full of crap and didn’t like to run in the cold and ice and snow. I loved it dearly anyway. What a lovely tribute πŸ™‚

  4. This sounds like my car, if I had one that is.
    Nice read!

  5. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  6. That reminds me of my 1992 Isuzu I had a few years ago. I bought it knowing it was junk. I literally had to change the spark plugs every three days and it drank a gallon of oil a week.

    I loved that truck. I was sad when it gave up the ghost a year and a half later.

  7. This is a very lovely, humorous ode. πŸ™‚

  8. Ah, true – there is no car like the first car. I’m still on my first too, and even though it’s now a rusted-out dining room/punchingbag that sounds like marbles in a tin can, I’ll always think it’s cuter than any model they make now. (OK, except for the back end. You can see it in this post’s middle picture: http://pezcita.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/i-promised-someone-on-fp-a-superdawgs-post-so-here-it-is/)

  9. Love the car memories this brought back to me. May it serve you as long as you still love it.

    • You know what’s amazing? My post was freshly pressed, in case you’re wondering why there’s more than 3 people suddenly commenting. Another thing to add to my sweet car memories, that one time it got me freshly pressed on wordpress.

  10. Awesome

  11. Cars of yesteryear had personality. Their certain patterns of vibration going over those patches of potholes every time you’re going home…. treasure these memories, many were not so fortunate to have had them in a Honda.

    • I do treasure them. Especially my first car, a 1988 Toyota Camry that I had as a young adult in Florida (which also belonged to my dad) that did not survive its first winter in Minnesota.

      • Having a Camry in ’88 probably made you the driver for all your friends. It was huge by comparison to others, and If you had the v6, probably faster than them as well.

  12. A car is more than just a means of transport. it has character and accompanies many a fond memory.

  13. I enjoyed this post! My car hit 100k miles this year, and things are starting to break. I have two heavy brass drink coasters in the front passenger door pocket. Not sure where they came from. Oh, and anytime someone asks for a pen, I know to check driver’s side door pocket – black, blue, red or green ink???

  14. There is something special about a car, well some cars. Most cars are just hunks of lifeless plastic and steel. But some cars, some cars are so much more. I know how you feel about your civic. I am the same way with my old truck. It is an 86 Ford Ranger. It is known around the country as the Cookie Monster. My Dad bought it new in 86, and I restored it in 2005. Its old, batter, worn, it smokes a lot, and needs more TLC than I can give it right now. But there is nothing in the world that could get me to part with it.
    Keep the oil in it, and it will run forever. The odometer is not a timer counting down till doomsday, it is a device to remind you when to change the fluids. Happy motoring.

    • A car called Cookie Monster! That is FANFREAKINGTASTIC. We have a red jeep named…wait for it…Clifford the Big Red Car. I thought this was so classic and original until we saw another red jeep, exactly the same make and model, with a bumper sticker that said CLIFFORD THE BIG RED CAR.

  15. What a fantastic post!!

  16. Nice post! My first car was 1990 Honda Civic hatchback, and I did love it! No AC, broken radio, muffler fell off once when I was driving BUT it was great, in its way.

    • Oooh, hatchback. My first car was an 88 Toyota Camry. No AC in Florida. Well, it worked when you turned right, but not the rest of the time. So I turned right a lot. Just to cool off. Even if it took me out of my way. πŸ™‚

      Did the muffler fall off while you were driving? Whatever did you do??

  17. Oh I love my little white car! While it’s not a honda civic she’s just about hit 230,000 miles and keeps chugging. She too grumbles a bit louder each year but I think because of her age she’s allowed to. My radio doesn’t go too loud without awful crackling which means I just have to SING as loud as I can to cover the noise. People ask why I don’t clean my car but I tell them it’s the dirt that holds her together! Lol

    • My radio has problems, too. If you turn the dial to make it louder, it gets louder, but also if you turn the dial to make it quieter, it gets louder. It’s sort of painful. Singing is the answer to all things!

  18. My car is a rust bucket, full of art projects, crayons, random pieces of clothing and a few tools. I can definitely relate to your post. People always ask me why I don’t buy a new car. I don’t see why I should if the old one still works. Great post by the way. I really enjoyed it.

  19. I know this all too well. We just had to get rid of our Sebring two days ago. The engine sounded like it had marbles in it.

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