I'm sixteen, it's graduation day for the seniors at my high school, and I'm high on life. I've just put a deposit down on an Admiral Blue Metallic Corvette. It's a six-speed made in 1995 at the Corvette Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky. My father and I are going to South Dakota to pick it up form an elderly gentleman who bought it new
I can distinctly remember my first vehicle, a 1978 GMC 5/8 ton truck, my grandfather gifted it to me when I was seven years old. To this day, it remains my favorite vehicle. This, in part with my dad's involvement in the car industry sparked a passion for vehicles that has led to years of research just for the joy of new knowledge. At ten, I could name any visible component on my truck and had an established understanding of the basic mechanicals underneath. I was also very quick to quip that my GMC was the best truck in the world, bearing no shame that it had 35 years of rust accumulated along it body panels. That truck meant the world to me. But then I turned fifteen and got my driving permit, look out world, I'm in charge now. Unfortunately my truck needed quite a bit of work to be dependable enough to commute on a day-to-day basis, thus leading to the search for a new car.
When I commenced my search I had a checklist in mind of required features: standard gearbox (I'm a snob), ability to be worked on (no German cars), cruise control, ABS, power windows, locks, seats, and mirrors, and most importantly, an air conditioner to blow me out of the water (I live in Dallas). I knew from the get-go that I would get a car from the nineties, not too old, but not new enough for the government to be able to hack it. I preferred 2 doors and lots of power, limiting my options to about 5 cars. A Nissan 300ZX, LT1 Corvette, Mitsubishi 3000GT, Lexus SC400, and Mazda Miata were all in the running. They were all in my budget, will optioned, fun, and easy enough to work on with average parts availability.
The day I decided I wanted a Corvette was hot- it was summer- and my dad and I were headed to a parts store to pick up some sealant. Outside was an Admiral Blue Corvette. It had no exhaust and a fine layer of dust showing that it was a well cared for driver. The owner, Aaron the parts guy, showed me around, hooking my interest instantly. Track, forward three months and that brings us to the day of my sister's graduation. She was valedictorian and a National Merit Scholar; it didn't matter to me, the Corvette in South Dakota was awaiting pickup. My father and I left before her ceremony, aiming to get to the car before Friday afternoon the next day.
Upon arrival we took it for a test drive- which was a harrowing experience as I had gotten my license just 72 hours before- which went without event. I handed Dale, the previous owner, the cash and we were off. On the way home I got to know my new car, Azula, and made a list of improvements to be made. It read, "Headlights, A/C/ leak, shocks, alignment, stereo, and tires", all things I fixed when I got home.
Looking back, I had done quite a lot for the slightly above average teenage boy, and regret none of it. I don't regret missing my sisters big day, or any time with my family that I spent researching my car. I rather value it, because it made me who I am. I now know that life is a series of choices in a much quicker succession than I had known when I was sixteen. But it is not only choices that define who we are, but also the experiences that lead up to those choices, that is what really affects our lives.