Everyone remembers their first car. Maybe you're still driving yours. Even if it was a complete banger that inspired Basil Fawlty-esque fits of rage, you'll undoubtedly have many happy memories as well.
Your first car was your gateway to freedom and independence.If you passed your test when you were 17 or 18, getting behind the wheel on your own maybe even felt like one of the first tentative yet exciting steps into adulthood.
However long ago it was, most of us will have shared similar experiences. Please let me know if I've missed any off this list.
The first time you drove by yourself it was WEIRD
Without someone sitting next to you telling you to go right at the end of the road, suddenly you could go anywhere. At first the freedom felt amazing. Then panic set in. What if other drivers were mean to you? What if you suddenly forgot which pedal was the brake, or how to change gears? What if you drove the wrong way down a one-way street? What sort of crazy person would let you get behind the wheel of a car all by yourself?! Five minutes into the journey though you realised that everything you ever learned didn't just suddenly fall out of your head, and that first solo drive ended up being pretty bloody awesome.
You found any excuse to drive
I basically became a taxi service for my friends, driving miles out of my way most mornings to pick them up for sixth-form.If you were the first person in your group of friends to have a car (as I was), you definitely did this too.You made pointless trips to the shops for one item, went on midnight adventures and offered to run boring errands if it meant you could feel grown-up and responsible.Eventually the novelty wore off and the reality of the cost of petrol sunk in, but for those first few months you probably drove about 80% more than was actually necessary. And you loved every second of it.
You made memories that you'll cherish forever
Driving to the beach in the sunshine with your favourite song blaring, making an impromptu trip to surprise a friend or choosing your very first car air-freshener (mine was a vanilla Magic Tree, in case you were wondering). These things seem pretty routine now, but I'll bet the first time you did them they felt new and exciting.This was your very own car that could take you anywhere you wanted.Your own little space to personalise how you liked. Think about that feeling next time you're grumbling about having to stop for petrol, or bemoaning the cost of driving. Owning a car can be a hassle, sure.Of course it's costly. But I think we should all try to recapture a little bit of the joy we felt when driving was still new and exciting.
You named your car
According to a study carried out by The AA, 39% of us name our cars. 50% of women do it, compared with only 33% of men, and young drivers (18-24) are the most likely to give their car a name. Whether or not you've named the cars you've had since, I would bet good money that you named your first.
Mine was Harry, short for Harrods (he was a Rover Knightsbridge and I thought I was being very clever at the time).
You sort of miss the quirks of having a crappy car
If you're lucky enough to now drive a car with power steering that starts the first time you turn the key, that's great.But don't you sometimes miss leaning forwards when driving up a hill, or yelling words of encouragement/expletives as you battle to jam the gearstick into 5th? Having a rubbish car is a rite of passage in my opinion, and I mean, who doesn't love the fear and excitement of breaking down randomly on a roundabout? Oh man, good times.
You experienced driver's privilege for the first time
This includes, but is not limited to the following:
You found any excuse to mention you drove somewhere
“I'd love a drink but...” sigh “...I'm driving.”
“Ugh, sorry I'm late, traffic was an absolute nightmare”
You quickly turned on learner drivers
When you were learning you felt nothing but sympathy for the poor learner in front of you who stalled at the traffic lights. As people honked at her furiously you felt a rush of solidarity. You patiently waited for someone to struggle their way into a parking space, rather than rushing round them and shooting them a frustrated glance. These were your people, and if there was one thing you believed it was that you had to look after one of your own.
It didn't take long though before you were rolling your eyes and muttering “bloody learner drivers” under your breath, while hoping that everyone else in the car would somehow forget that you were one yourself until about 10 minutes ago.
You cried when your little car finally gave up the ghost
The day the mechanic gently told you that the repairs were going to cost more than the car was worth (and while we're on that, how dare he suggest your precious baby was only worth £150?!), was one of the saddest of your life. In that moment the questionable brakes, crunchy gears and mysterious damp smell were completely forgotten and you felt like you were losing a part of yourself. For better or for worse, you knew then that you'd never forget your first car and all the excitement, freedom and responsibility it once represented.