10 Years Ago

So, approximately ten years ago, I bought my MINI cooper. The clown car. The first new car I ever purchased. And the poor thing still works. With all I put that car through, it still runs. 140,000 miles of memories.

1. Fort Monmouth closed due to snow. All employees were told to stay home for their safety. What do I do? I drive past the post to go skiing.

2. I deicide to swap out the supercharger pulley for a reduction pulley. I did this to give the car a little more pep. With some friends helping, we set the car on fire. Briefly. When we had issues getting the original pulley off, we decided to grind it off. The sparks from the grinding set the foam in the engine compartment on fire.

3. The drive to and from Canada. Including Maine, the state that never ended. I still have nightmares of that state,  and if it was kicked out of the Union, I wouldn’t lose sleep. The rough roads in NY. The new spinal cord that the passenger in the back seat will probably need after that ride. It was the ride from hell! And yet, it was fun.

4. Taking that car to a winery tour in PA. Telling my passenger (another best friend) that the reason that brought it was that if I stalled out, it was I sigh that I was too drunk to drive. Then, pulling into the first winery, I stalled it. Flagged before we even started.

5. Bending the suspension by hitting a curb. That was just stupid.

Even picking up the car was an adventure. I went out to Princeton MINI, and ordered the car, but I couldn’t get it right away. A couple of days later I was finally allowed to pick it up. I had my friend drive me out to the dealership so I can pick up my new car.  When we finally got there, he asked, “You know how to drive stick?” Of course I did, I just had no experience.  None. Zip. Zilch. So, my first real experience driving a manual transmission was going to be driving this car home. He could have driven the car home for me, but his car was also manual. So, no help there.

Turned on the car, it was in gear already, I didn’t know, and it stalled. Ok, trying again. Turned on the car, lifted off the clutch, and stalled it again. Forgot the emergency brake. Trying again. Turned on the car, lifted off the clutch, and stalled it. Not enough gas. The fourth time was the charm. Zipped off and the rest is history.

After ten years, I still love this car. It’s like a go-kart on steroids. It’s fun zipping around corners in it. I miss the thunderbird. I enjoyed the GTI. And my first car, the Golf, well, don’t really miss that. But this MINI is a blast. I hope I can keep it another ten years.


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