Peter, Not Joe (joeshlabotnik) wrote,
Peter, Not Joe

My First Car

My first car was a hand-me-down from my parents: their giant 1979 Chrysler New Yorker. It got 12 mpg and started falling apart pretty much the day my parents bought it, but it had power windows and locks and seats, which were still novelties in the late 70s. Back before kids needed to be strapped in like Hannibal Lechter, it fit half a soccer team, and the ride to Wyoming or Florida was super comfortable.

I learned to drive on it (somehow I was even able to parallel park it), and got to use it sometimes the summer after high school (on Long Island you couldn't get a full license until 17 and I graduated from high school three days before my 17th birthday). My parents then let me use it for the summers I was home from college, then finally let me just bring it to college with me junior and senior years. Not that I had much need for a car on campus, but it came in handy on occasion.

Princeton has a unique class schedule - the fall semester started in mid-September, with a week off at the end of October, a short break for Thanksgiving, and a week-and-a-half off for Christmas after classes ended. Then January was a week-and-a-half of '"reading period" and a week-and-a-half of finals. So your final exam could be over a month after your last class. I kind of liked it that way; it gave you lots of time to prepare and do final papers and projects and such.

Anyway, at the end of January, we had a week off (called "intersession") before the spring semester started. It was easy enough for me to get home, just a two-to-three-hour drive. Princeton organized a ski trip to Killington that week, but at the time I didn't ski and had no interest in doing so then (I kick myself now, considering how cheap it was, and thinking back on how much fun it would have been to ski with a couple hundred schoolmates). Sue wasn't skiing then, either, but she also wasn't planning on going home (too far without a car). So I got the brilliant idea to offer to drive her home myself.

I had wanted to date her for months, but she had a boyfriend from home. Very frustrating, especially since she kept wanting to hang out with me. Driving her home meant I was doing her a huge favor, plus I'd get to spend nearly a week alone with her. And I had never been to Maine before. It was the perfect plan.

And it worked, though I wasn't at all sure that it had when the trip was over and I was dropping her off at the train station (we had stopped at my house on the way to and from Maine, and she was heading back to Princeton while I stayed home the last weekend of break). I had a very very nervous weekend...

In conclusion, that's why it's handy to have a car at college. The end.

(PS - Photos from that month - January 1991 - are here.)
Tags: college

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