Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Requiem for the Hooptie - Weston, MA

Hooptie looking pretty good, no?

 Hooptie: [noun] A car, especially an old or dilapidated one. 

Today I am saying goodbye to my hooptie, my 2003 Acura TL. It has around 125,000 miles on it, and would be capable of more if the cost of ball joints, brakes (front and back) and a seriously damaged body didn't largely overwhelm the current value of the car. It is one of two cars in my driving life that have had personalities that make me mourn their moving on. My moving on.

The first car was one I got in college. It was a used car, a Toyota Corolla hatchback. It was unstoppable on the New England roads and took me to Acadia National Park where it earned its name of Eliot, for the mountain that once bore that moniker (I believe Eliot Mountain's name was changed to a native name a few years back). Eliot took me to California after college and we spent a few years looking for parking in Nob Hill and Cow Hollow neighborhoods. I used to love telling people that I was leaving with Eliot for the weekend if I wanted to get out of a party. "Sorry, Eliot and I have plans." Sadly, Eliot had to move on when I went to graduate school--the Chicago winter was his undoing. 

Many Hondas and Toyotas and Volvos (and even a really fun VW Golf) and BMWs (yeah, I did like that convertible, and the red one was super fun too) followed but none of them made me smile when I crossed the parking lot. No, that was reserved for the hooptie. Why did it make me smile? Because it had history--family history. 

We moved from Brazil to the US in the summer of 2014 and quickly had to buy a big SUV for our primary (and only) car. In the fall, my second family (my parents' closest friends growing up, and the daughters are my two closest friends) sold their family home. There was lots of stress and sadness as we helped close up the house and scatter the belongings. One of the items left on the last day was their car, a dark blue 2003 Acura TL with 110,000 miles, a massive amount of dings and dents and a ripped front driver seat where my second father had sat down with a pruner in his back pocket.  The car's tan interior was filthy with dirt, grime and lots and lots of unidentifiable objects. After a brief conversation with my husband, we decided to buy it as our "station car"--the car that we leave at the train station, park in bad neighborhoods when it's cheaper when the goods ones, or have as a back-up car in case the kidmobile (aka truck-like SUV) is busy. 

Hard to see but that be a hole in the front seat next to the seatbelt

And so I didn't expect to love this beat-up car. Until I did. And that was pretty much the first day. Because in spite of its nasty little exterior, its early 90s self, the hooptie (we started calling it that right away to differentiate it from the SUV, which is the same make) is seriously fun to drive. It accelerates as well as its younger brother, it brakes well, it has all the fancy safety features...and it loves a curvy road. We've got that here in Weston! 

My dad spent a lot of time filling in scratches with the matching blue paint. He weather-proofed the trunk which leaked. He and my mom also loved driving the hooptie as it was much like their car (a year younger) at home. Everyone loved the hooptie who knew the hooptie. Or if they didn't, they made sure not to tell me. The kids and I liked to drive the hooptie with the windows down yelling the lyrics for Nikki Miraj's Starships: "jumped in the hooptie-hooptie-hoop, I own that! I ain't paid my rent this month, I owe that." We are extremely popular in Weston. 

I cannot help but smile when I see that dented car across the parking lot, parked amongst Weston's Volvos, Porsches, BMWs and Teslas. If I feel like a driver has parked like a jerk, I tend to park the hooptie as close to them as possible. After all, a ding isn't going to hurt me! My husband and I planned to let the kids learn to drive on the hooptie in 6 years. We knew that car could make it to 200K. Until it didn't.

Let's see...Volvo, Volvo, Porsche Cayenne...hooptie! What makes me smile!

We aren't trading in the hooptie, but rather donating it to a non-profit. I can only hope its replacement can make me smile. Yes, another used car, but so far, no personality. I am not allowed to tell you what we will be driving tomorrow because my sons want to ghost people from it and don't want people to identify it as ours. 

Tomorrow the hooptie loses its plates and its rights to road. Today, we ride.

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