The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The keys to adulthood through crashing old automobiles

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN
Antony Marchiando

“It’s a death trap!” I said. “It goes into neutral when I drive.”

At sixteen years old, the only thing running through my mind was the thought of driving away in a brand new automobile. I could not wait to get behind the wheel and feel the wind in my hair as I drove off into a world of freedom and stupidity.

While my friends wanted Mustangs and Range Rovers, I wanted a 2009 gunmetal gray Jeep Liberty. What I didn’t anticipate was it would be nearly seven years and five cars later before I would get a vehicle made in this decade.

Prior to entering Santa Barbara City College at the tender age of 16, my parents handed over the keys to their 2001 Chrysler Concorde. I totaled it within the first four months.

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This is what sparked the downward spiral of one car after the next.

This brings me to the car I called ‘the Beast,’ a 1991 Chrysler New Yorker. The only good things about the car were the comfy, plush seats. It was a hideous shade of maroon, not only on the exterior, but the interior as well. It was actually the color of my high school football team.

“Go Lions,” my mother said mockingly.

I stared in shock at the death trap that I could have sworn was going to take my life. I couldn’t believe it. My mother was encouraging my father’s revenge for crashing the first car but this one didn’t last long. Six months later the engine blew up and the car was toast.

Then came car number three, the 1993 Mercury Cougar. This was my personal favorite.

The Cougar had a V8 engine that cost me more than the gas to put in it. By the time she chugged her last gallon I had received two tickets that tarnished my driving record.

Fast forward to the end of my first year at City College. I had gone exactly eight months without a car, but fortunately I was living in La Brezza apartments right below school and it wasn’t necessary to drive.

However, with the new year came new changes and I was embarking on a move to Isla Vista.

This leads me to my longest companion, the 1995 Chevy Corsica. Two months into having this sturdy hunk of junk I was involved in another accident. Nevertheless, the Corsica kept on rolling and lasted another year and a half until it finally broke down last November.

The Corsica taught me many things: how to use a flashlight as a headlight, how many days I could last on empty and the importance of brakes in busy intersections. Yet, the most valuable lesson I learned from the Corsica was how to appreciate my parent’s choices in giving me these junk cars.

It took awhile before my parents trusted me enough to get my latest and newest car, the 2013 magnetic gray Toyota Corolla.

I now see the importance of going through the process of humiliating cars so that when one finally receives a new vehicle one can truly appreciate it.

I adore my car now, but sometimes I do still miss ‘the Beast’s’ lavish seats.

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