Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Ode to My Car, Bev

People love cars – their first car, their first “nice” car, that old classic that’s just like new, and even an old bomb that just keeps ticking. Cars represent more than just transportation – when you have one, the ideas of freedom, travel and adventure become an everyday reality. You don’t need to rely on anyone else, and there’s no need for public transport – you can go anywhere you want, whenever you want. You can travel the open road – see new things, live, breathe fresh air. You can get to work and back. You can come and go as you please, on your own time, on your own terms. Listen to your own favourite music. Let the windows down. It’s your own private getaway, like a mobile VIP club.

We love our cars so much, they’re more than just “things” we own – we give them names, invent personalities for them, and even take our pictures with them. To some of us, our cars are more like friends – remember the first time you met? And how about all those road trips you had together? The older the car, the more love we show them, especially those old clunkers we dream will drive on forever – like my car, Bev.

Bev is a 1985, light metallic blue 323i BMW coupé. This year, she turned 25-years old, only eight years younger than me. In a few more years she’ll be considered an antique and if there was such a thing as “doggie years” for cars, most people would consider her to be elderly, plodding towards the twilight phase. But Bev’s got a secret – she’s not nearly finished.

She’s got a strong build and lots of spit-fire – perhaps it’s her German descent. She smokes a lot these days and drinks more than she used to, but after all these years of service, I suppose she feels she’s earned it. She took good care of herself for most of her life and today she looks a lot younger than she is, but over the past few years she has had a tough time, with bouts of downtime when she wasn’t feeling herself and had to slow down. Her eyes aren’t as great as they used to be, especially not at night, and she’s got a few niggles like getting grumpy when you rush her, or completely passing out on odd occasions. But sometimes she surprises you with her pep, picking up the pace when the occasion calls, making me remember how she was in the good old days. The mornings are a little harder and especially when it’s cold she needs a little extra help getting started. But once she gets going you can tell she’s happy by the way soft way she talks along the road. She loves to travel almost as much as me and together we’ve been to Mozambique, the Drakensberg Mountains, Namibia and everywhere in between along the South African coastline.

Even with all these good times together I know Bev won't be around forever. I daydream sometimes about having a nice shiny four-wheel-drive number – maybe I’ll even spring for air conditioning. Then I can escape to the bumpy, sandy, pot-hole laden roads of the great unknown with less risk and more comfort. The world will seem more beautiful from behind my new windscreen, and I’ll feel invincible as I look out at others’ breakdowns and strain to remember what those times used to feel like – way back when. No more not-starting, no flat batteries or kick-starts, no more tow-rope-towing, and definitely, no more “bad-car-days” that leave you stranded on the side of the road. My new ride will be amazing… but the truth is – she's pretty far away, a change would be expensive, and I’d have no way of knowing if the new times would be as great as the old times. And anyways – Bev is right here with me and she's still my trusty sidekick. May you drive on forever, Bev – drive on.


  1. Enjoyed your blog - sure you will be published. Just keep doing what you love!

  2. You really are a talented writer!

  3. I like the smoking and drinking part.
    bev rocks!