Little Miss Sun Roof

By Candice Hightower Taylor

08.19.2008

This wasn\'t Candice\'s first car.There’s nothing better than firsts: first love, first home and above all your very first sun roof. Not very impressive for most, but the first car I purchased on my own was a Pontiac with absolutely no bells and zero whistles. I’m not exaggerating. We’re talking no sun roof; no power locks, windows or seats; no cassette or CD — just a radio. To top it off, in my world, popping the trunk or the little door housing the gas tank would have required an act of God. And her performance in the multi-inch midwestern snow? You guessed it…donuts all around.

Despite her shortcomings, I affectionately named her Rae after the salesman that sealed the deal. She boasted nothing more than the basics and I loved her to pieces anyway because she was mine and undoubtedly a trooper. Never garage kept and frozen solid in below zero temperatures more times than I can remember, Rae started up everyday without fail until the end, of course. And even when she died, it took some strong arming to get me to replace her. She sat lifeless in front of my house for nearly two weeks before I finally gave in.

Although she was dependable, easy on my pocketbook and got more miles to the gallon than any vehicle I’ve had since, I really didn’t know what I was missing until my princess of an SUV Devin opened my eyes to the sheer joy of having a sun roof. I never considered myself a sun nut, but this was pretty sweet — a limitless blue sky within my reach at the touch of a button. However, as a sunroof virgin, I must confess that I wasn’t smitten immediately and had some serious reservations about opening myself to the world. I know that my fears are sometimes far fetched, but please cut me some slack. I’m the girl whose dad completely turned her off from convertibles (with exception of the SC430) by drilling an image into her head that a psycho would jump in her back seat at a stoplight. Yep, that’s me.

All that aside, I really blame the little boy I encountered in Time’s Square. Of all the sights I took in that day, he was the most unforgettable. He was wailing and crying out of control because a pigeon went potty on his head. The horror on that kid’s face coupled with lingering post traumatic stress from watching The Birds, left me reluctant to let a little sunshine in. Let me spell this out. If Toucan Sam has to relieve himself, I surely don’t want it to be on my noggin via Devin’s sun roof. Of course we take hits on the outside, but a quick trip to the touchless car wash and Devin sparkles as good as new. But no way was I going to take a chance and let Woody Woodpecker and his pals jeopardize my good hair days and scar Devin (and me) for life.

Getting pooped on is never a good thing and all metaphors aside, I would freak out — guaranteed. In fact, on a drive home from work one day I was feeling adventurous and decided to give the sun roof a try. Ten minutes into my commute a wasp flew in and I pulled over in a panic. I’m ashamed to say I was reckless, but because I was mildly hysterical, I had to retreat and regroup. Wasp vs. Bird. You do the math. Needless to say, that incident and the possibility of an accident resulting in rising car insurance premiums kept the sun out for a while. Forced into a corner and wanting some sun, I was inclined to use an old fashioned method to get over it — denial. Here it is: “My name is Candice and I am not afraid of birds and their poop.” All lies, but what is a girl to do? I was born and raised in snow country and feeling the sun on my face on a warm summer day is a moment I don’t want to miss. Sadly, that river in Africa can only get you so far, so when I see or hear birds overhead Simon says, “close the sunroof,” and I never put up a fight.

On paper, Rae can’t hold a candle to Devin, but as my first major purchase she will always be a star. No bells, no whistles and absolutely no sun roof (or birds) necessary. That said, my first sunroof has nothing on my first car. I’m sure Devin understands.

Take It From Me: Basic is beautiful. So love your car, fewer options and all, because more perks like navigation and temperature controlled seats just increase the likelihood for things to go kaput. More features, more problems and definitely more trips to your local Mr. Fix It.

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3 Comments

  1. I had some basic cars back when I had a basic life. It all seemed to suit me OK back then, but I can’t imagine going back willingly at this point in my life.

  2. I completely agree, less is more. My first car, a truck actually, was a 1997 Ford Ranger XL 4×2. Manual transmission, 4-cylinder, steel wheels, vinyl bench, and no carpet, A/C, power widows, or power door locks. It didn’t even have a radio when I got it. But that little pickup survived my driving growing pains, never broke down or had any mechanical problems, and now, 150k miles later, my dad is putting around in it. I since have moved on to a much fancier 4×4 truck, but I still love that little Ranger.

  3. Same here. 1995 Red Ranger. Although it came stripped, by the time I got rid of it it had chrome wheels, a system, chrome fender covers,a billet grill and euro headlights/taillights. I blinged it out. Looking back, it was too much, but I was having fun and had money to burn. I loved that truck.

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