Look at that shine.
Our 11-year-old car just passed the 200,000-mile mark on the odometer. It’s been with us for multiple transcontinental drives and a lot of smaller road-trips in between. This is our unicorn: a combination of manual transmission, smooth straight-six engine, all-wheel drive, and cavernous station wagon that’s simply no longer available from any manufacturer. What will we do when this car is ready for retirement? That’s a tough question.
Berkeley’s seasons are a weird, fractured, microcrystalline version of their East Coast equivalents. There’s a nice congruence between the variable season a given tree might be experiencing and the variable model year any street-parked vehicle might be representing. Having autumn foliage gently localized around this classic (if oxidized) VW Microbus makes for a delightful combination.
My neighbor parks his growling, thundering Audi S3 in a perfectly-sized space. He carefully backs it in and tucks down the corners of the Audi-emblem car cover. At night, this machine comes to life. LED headlamps flare and the walls of the garage form a resonant chamber for the warm-up revs of the turbo engine. Hydrocarbons are injected, explosively oxidized, and exhausted; the beast is unleashed!
“Teenage” is a category that remains linked to California, and there are few places where the California/teenager overlap occurs more than in an older-model car jammed full of your best friends on a sunny Saturday afternoon in downtown Berkeley. There are plans to be made! We have to pick up that guy from the BART! What about hitting Grizzly Peak? Time to drive!