When I was 16, I totaled the first car I ever had - a 1996 Mazda Protege. After months of mastering how to drive a stick, I had my first "real" job and my own car. I turned left when I didn't have an arrow and thought I did. The car was toast, but thankfully everyone was alright (although I'm sure the people I hit are still telling their friends and relatives about that jackass who totaled their car by the Applebee's in Fairfield back in 2005). By the end of the summer I was fortunate enough to have a "new" car, a 2000 Toyota Corolla.
Up until a month ago, I still drove it. It's gone now. I never really cared for cars. I find them to be practical devices to get you from point A to point B. I do enjoy road trips and listening to music with the windows down, all that usual jazz, but I don't get excited about auto shows or the countless people around me who have stripped the muffler off of their mid 90's Hondas. Cars are cool, if that's your thing, but to me they're just a tool to be used for a purpose. I never thought I'd have any sentimental attachment to the Corolla when I let it go, but I had a lot of good memories in that vehicle. It made countless road trips all across the Midwest. It survived the massive pot holes of I-75 in Detroit, hung out in front of abandoned buildings in sketchy neighborhoods, had its right side smashed up by my younger sister, the radio only worked in one speaker and the car rattled like crazy. It had a Dale Earnhardt "#3" thrown on the side and it once survived a trip "off roading." It got me to work on time when I was running late, was fast enough to get a few speeding tickets and had its fair share of strange and interesting passengers. But why did I call it the A#1 Corolla Rager?
The story goes back to 2008 or 2009. My buddy Jeffy and I are rolling around downtown Cincinnati listening to the song "A#1 Roller Rager" by cKy, one of my favorite bands. We came off of Liberty St. somewhere and I made a wrong turn onto a one way. I realized my mistake immediately and prepared to find a place to turn around, thankfully there were no cars headed our direction. Just as I begin to turn around, this woman on the sidewalk begins screaming:
"HEY! HEEEEEEEYYYY!I could hardly understand her shrill cry of traffic enforcement over the cKy lyrics, but the fact that she pointed to a One Way sign gave me a clue that she too realized how stupid I had been. I turned the Corolla around lightning quick and yelled:
ESSS A WOONN WEIGHHHHH!"
"I'm sorry!"To which she smiled and calmly replied:
"Oh, it's okay!"The car was then officially called the "A#1 Corolla Rager."
The Corolla Rager certainly had many adventures in its day and I never really gave it any rest. It took a beating for sure. About a month or so back, an opportunity arose to get a used, but much better conditioned car. I was able to easily find a buyer for the Corolla Rager, but they needed it quickly. I got the call that they wanted it that night and I went out in the cold to clean out the trunk that had been my second closet for quite some time. I had some time to get some last photos of it before I took it on one last trip to "Waffle Shack," where I exchanged the title for cash over a cup of coffee.
I never cared about cars, but I cared about that one. Some times, I do miss it.