When I was young, a cousin turned up at a family holiday dinner driving a Mustang convertible. I thought that car was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen and swore that one day I would have my own sweet little ragtop to cruise around town in. The wind would whip through my hair. The sun would beam down on me. Life would be perfect as I sailed around town, radio blaring, smiling at those poor souls not fortunate enough to be driving in a convertible.
Then I became a teacher – and that meant driving economical, practical, teacher-like cars since that’s all I could afford. For years. Until one day I decided to splurge and bought myself a Mazda MX-5. Most people know it as the Miata. It had terrific ratings from Car & Driver and Consumer Reports. It was supposed to be the best, most affordable convertible on an American highway.
It was so much more.
Driving KC (Yes, I name my cars have driven a Robby, a Bart, and Sid Civic, among others) made me feel young and free. He handled like a dream. KC was very recognizable in my little suburban neck of the woods – a midnight blue body with a tan ragtop. I had people say, “Oh, I saw you in the Taco Bell drive-thru last night” or “Dropped books off at the library and knew you were here.”
I treat my cars well, and I wanted to drive KC forever, however impractical a 2-seater seemed to be. We had 12 wonderful years together, and I loved those days when the weather was like today – a little cool, then turning warmer and sunny. Those were “top down” days in my vocabulary, and I took advantage of every one I could.
Then about as bad a hailstorm as I can remember hit my little Texas town. Many people lost their roofs, their patio furniture, their grills. And I lost my car. The ragtop was cut to ribbons. The body had hundreds of dents. The back window was shattered. I was the most reluctant car shopper ever, looking, not having any idea what I wanted to buy since I hadn’t been in a buying mood. I hoped State Farm would tell me some miracle could occur and that KC would be restored to his former glory.
It didn’t happen. A check was cut. My beautiful, zippy, zoom-zoom convertible was towed away.
I couldn’t go convertible again. It hurt too much and seemed like a betrayal of KC. So I compromised and got a sunroof. I’ve now had my new car right at a year now, and I’ve enjoyed driving it quite a bit. I pop that sunroof open all the time. Yesterday I drove around with it open, listening to Glenn Frey telling me to “Take it Easy” and Adam Levine letting me know in the “Daylight” we’ll be on our own.
But on days like today? There’s a little lump in my throat because it’s a top down kind of day.
And I miss my convertible.