A Mini for Harriet

I bought my first car in 2005, I was 21 and had just walked away from a terrible, abusive marriage. I fell head over heels for a bright yellow VW bug I called Daisy and drove off the lot with the largest “high on life” feeling I’d had in months and months. My Dad (the most sensible man I know who has only ever owned a car that is white or silver) called me a few days later wondering if I had buyer’s remorse over such a bright, shiny, LOUD, always-going-to-be noticed auto choice. I told him that I smiled every single time I saw that round yellow car, and that if anything could make me smile every day it was worth more than diamonds.

So, with that introduction, it is probably important to note that I have perhaps a slightly high expectation of feelings that should be generated by a vehicle. But, even so, there it is.

Fast forward a decade: Daisy was totaled in 2008 in a terrible car accident (which I still ache from on a regular basis, btw), and as the economy tanked, and my paycheck along with it, my car choices (or, rather, the leftover very-used cars I found fit into my budget) became much darker, more dull, and more sensible. And more often than not, rusty around the edges. Lately I’ve been driving a mostly functional sedan that was picked out by Blue Eyes’ x-wife 8 or 9 years ago; it was nicer than my previous 2 vehicles, for sure, but it never really fit me and with that kind of pedigree it certainly never made me smile.

Mini 3_feistyharriet_May 2014

Two weeks ago all of that changed.

Blue Eyes and I have been talking about replacing my car for over a year, and in all those discussions I always hoped for an end result that put me over-the-moon, but the practical adult in me realized that 21-year-old Harriet and 31-year-old Harriet should not necessarily have the same wish list for vehicles. But, I also knew that if we were going to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on something, it damn well better be smile-inducing! (Delicate balance, that is, by the way.) Blue Eyes found what turned out to be the exact combination of compromise of both of our dream cars, we took it for a test drive, confirmed that it was everything we had been looking for, and the price was right in our range.

Mini 4_feistyharriet_May 2014

A few hours later she was mine. (Blue Eyes says “ours” but we both know that term is really just a formality.)

I woke up several times that night to check the driveway, just to make sure she was still there. I took myself on a long solo drive–something I had never considered in the practical sedan, or either of the two predecessor vehicles.

Mini 6_feistyharriet_May 2014

Two weeks later and I still get butterflies when I come around the house and see her sitting there in all her shiny glory. I am completely in love. The Mini is far fancier than I think Blue Eyes or I ever intended, we are constantly pulling out the manual to figure out what that  button does, or how to change this or that setting. And then the fanciness just continues to awe us.

Mini 8_feistyharriet_May 2014

The photos may look like she’s just a regular bright, shiny red, but in actuality the color is more orangey-red. In my opinion, all love’s must have names, and the cars* (and computers, and vacuums, and flashlights, and pianos) that I have owned or lived with in previous lives have all been named (Ira, Hoovie, Maggie, and Sergei, respectively). I am leaning towards naming her Persimmon, and calling her Perci/Persi/Percy, but I am also open to suggestions.

Mini 9_feistyharriet_May 2014

Daaah, she’s just so…perfect. More photos here.

Do you love your car? Appreciate it’s functionality but are not attached? Do you think cute or fun cars are a worthy investment? Or are you far more practical than I am? What is your dream car? And your “more attainable” dream car?

Harriet sig

*Previous vehicles, make, model, color, and name (or lack of):

1993 maroon Jeep Cherokee: Mjölnir (long, long story, and not nearly as relevant in 2004 as it is now, thank you Marvel)
2004 yellow VW Bug: Daisy Mae
2008 red VW Bug: Roxy
1998 teal/rust Dodge Neon: Mallard
1995 black(ish) Mazda 6: Mazdaratti (sarcasm font)
2005 red Chevy Impala: The car not good enough for a name, I usually referred to it as “Blue Eyes’ damn car.” Can’t you feel the love?

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17 thoughts on “A Mini for Harriet

  1. I love it! The first car I bought with my own money was a red 1995 Civic (this was in 2004, so it definitely wasn’t a new car). When it finally died, I bought a newer, nicer, sensible sedan (in gunmetal grey) that is an upgrade in all aspects except personality. I like my car and I’m grateful for it, but I loved that Civic.

    I’m not super into cars, so I don’t really dream about some fancy ride, but what I would really, really love is a Vespa.

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    1. Gumetal grey is nice, for sure, but it doesn’t compare to something zippy and red. 🙂

      I think a Vespa would be SO delightful!! I can totally see you around town on one!

      xox

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  2. I love her! I’m a car namer too (Roberta, Lucy, Lola and my current Ella the Elantra) T has since started naming his cars and his newest purchase is Kenny. Ha. I love Percy – sounds fantastic! Your Percy is making me want a mini!

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  3. L. has a smart car, for many of the same reasons you bought your Mini. And while it’s utterly impractical when we have guests, and people always stare and point at us on the street, and it doesn’t handle snow storms all that well, well, it makes him happy and that’s good enough for me for now!

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  4. Plus, of course, I can’t really pass judgement on his car buying choices when a) I don’t have one and b) I’m too broke to buy one. So there’s that, too.

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  5. I’m a guy, but I’m not a “car guy,” so to me a car is just a method of getting around. My first car was a 1878 Ford Pinto that I had to share with my brother. My favorite car was an 88 Grand Am with all kinds of sporty options and a zoomy engine. Since I’ve become middle-aged, Ive tended to like “nicer” cars though, and my current Ford Fusion with all the techy options fits nicely. I like newer cars loaded with lots of tech, but I’m not really into sporty cars. Just not my thing.

    On a side note, I remember way back long ago when TVs were massive 300 lb beasts, I loaded 2 of them into the back of a convertible version of your car. I’m still proud if that moment.

    I also think it’s funny that women name their cars. 🙂

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    1. I snort-laughed at “1878 Ford Pinto.”

      I don’t think I’d consider myself a “car person,” but after driving a super fun, super cute vehicle the alternatives are just…well…dull. I guess it’s like crack, or Cadbury eggs, or something. You’re fine without it, until you have it and then you cannot imagine a complete life with said crack/cadbury eggs missing.

      Dude, I named a FLASHLIGHT! And a freaking grand piano. It’s clearly a disease.

      xox

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      1. That should have said “1978 Ford Pinto”, but to be honest, there wouldn’t be any difference from a model 100 years older. That thing had manual everything. Brakes, steering, transmission, windows, etc. It even had a choke and a floor dimmer switch.

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      2. You know the switch you use to turn your bright lights off and on? They are pretty much always on a steering wheel stalk now. They used to be a little silver toggle on the floor of cars and you stepped on it to make it work. I’m so old. 😦

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  6. I am so jealous! I love, love, love Minis. I’ve only had one car (aside from high school and college when I drove my mom’s). It’s a 2001 Nissan Sentra which I bought right out of college. Thirteen years later, it’s like a grumpy old man. Which I cannot afford to replace.

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