Around here, Question of the Day is considered a challenge, an opportunity, and often enough, a chance for some storytelling. It was Henry James, no slouch as a storyteller, who said that the two most beautiful words in the English language are "summer afternoon." Today's QOTD, by adding cars to the mix, to tried to get inside that sentiment. The commenters did not disappoint in response.
And so, at the suggestion of commenter Udman, we have a tie for COTD, both spinning tales out of the question, "What Car Makes You Dream Of Summer?" A good story makes you feel something. These both did.
For me it will always be a VW type 3 squareback ingrained in my summer DNA. My best friend through junior high got one from his parents when he got his license. I had to move to another town but the summer after 10th grade we got one last summer to hang out togther.
His parents had a cottage in Sutton's Bay Michigan which is a little town north of Traverse City on the Leelanau peninsula. We fixed up the little car with a radio (I believe it was an 8-track, this was '79) and some carpet remnants and we even painted the wheels silver.
We drove it all over northern Michigan that summer, listening to the Cars Best Friends Girl (that sticks with me too), wandered around in the woods, sat on hills and smoked dope, sailed their 17' sailboat, canoed the Pine river, made a few new friends (he was a girl magnet and I still drive them away) and drove through the cherry orchards just looking for scenic overlooks.
I had to leave early, before we had to be back in school. There was, and always is, a crisis of some kind in my family. That's why we had to move in the first place. He and that car died together up there that summer, I never saw him alive again. He's still in 1979, frozen forever in youth and summertime.
A beige Citroen 2CV the canvas roof the ugliest shade of orange I'd ever seen. And now whenever I see a 2CV I can't but think of the better parts of summer.
I was seventeen and had just moved out (Long ugly story) and found myself taking up residence on floor of a friends apartment in Pori. I had to spend that whole day inside, dead of summer when the weather is utterly divine in Finland, on account of some summer bug I'd caught. I'm not certain if it was the fever or the boredom (student friend; no tv, no computer and the radio was broken) but I ended up sitting on the abnormally large window sill and watching what was happening on the street below. For one day I watched the 2CV and the owner (a pretty young lady with red hair) as they went about what I would judge to be an exceedingly hectic day judging from the number of times she went off in that car.
I remember it clear as day too, in the morning she rolled up the canvas top and went off and I really thought that'd be the last of it, barely thirty minutes later she was back with breakfast. At one poin the cloud cover thickened over the city and there was a brief drizzle and she rushed out with barefeet to get that canvas top back up. I know I fell asleep between bits where she was off because I'd wake up and the car would be back, it was utterly fascinating.
I know that seems a bit stalker like, but with the fever and the lack of entertainment it really was as interesting as any movie. Anyway, a few days later I was feeling better so I went down, summoning up what courage I had, and talked to her. Greeting someone for the first time by telling them you were watching them for a day? Not so good. She laughed about it though.
I asked her out for coffee and she agreed. We went to a place she liked in her 2CV - it smelled like apples on the inside even with the roof rolled up - and ended up talking for a long time over many cups.
I'm a lot older now, she's got a new car, and we're still pretty good friends. Funny how stuff like that works out.
(Damn long-winded and sappy - but hell I figure I might as well tell it.)