When thinking about the products that most impact your life, the obvious place to start is to think: “What products do I use most?”. That is not always the product or device that is most significant or powerful in your life, however. I started to think about what products I use that I feel are most impactful. The first thing that came to mind was a pencil I have had since freshman year of high school. But there is only so much you can say about a pencil; instead I have decided to talk about my car. Words cannot describe how much I love my car. It is not especially fast, nor is it big and intimidating, and it is actually quite ugly and beaten up at the moment. But over the years since I have had it, I have started to form, what some have said, is an irrational attachment to the car.
The car is a BMW 1990 525i. I got it during my junior year of high school from my grandfather. It was his old company car, and when he retired he bought it from the company. He then passed it down to me as he never drove it because he had recently bought a new car. So it has become much more than just a car for me. I almost consider it a family heirloom. Something I need to pass down to my kids if I can keep it around long enough. It has become my own Ramblin’ Wreck, if you will.
There is nothing technically amazing about the car. It has just over 100,000 miles, which is amazing for a car that is 20 years old. I have also been told the car could last up to 500,000 miles if I take good enough care of it (which is probably part of the reason I’ve been wanting to hold on to the car for so long). Over the past year however, the car seems to be falling apart. I have had to fix the suspension, fixed an issue with the gas intake, replaced tires and spark plugs, and it now has an issue with a very noisy drive belt.
There is nothing especially flashy or outstanding about how the car looks. It is painted an unassuming dark green. The paint itself is faded and is starting to chip and erode from sun damage. The rims are the standard ones that came with the car all those years ago, which have since become stained and dirty. The tires are brand new however. I had to replace them recently as the car has been rolling on the same tires from day one. I was told by the mechanic that the rubber was so degraded that I could have been one big speed bump away from losing all four tires at the same time. The car’s body itself is covered in tiny nicks and dents. One dent in particular on the hood is from when I attempted to slide across the hood Dukes of Hazards style.
The interior is just as unordinary. The inside is covered with tan leather. The leather is now stained, fading, and cracking. Regardless, it is still the most comfortable seat around after a long day. One feature that I love is the driver and passenger side seats have heat warmers, which have been a godsend this winter. However, I often find myself cursing them in the summer for not being cooled seats. The radio and speakers have got to be the best feature of the interior. They are all brand new. I have just gotten them after a good year and a half without any radio after my previous one had broken. It is not especially roomy inside, but can comfortably sit five and uncomfortably sit about seven.
My favorite aspects about my car though are the ones that could actually be considered faults. Things like the passenger-side back door does not open because the locks are jammed, or that the car goes into complete lock down mode if the car battery dies. Because the locks are unlocked and locked electronically, if there is no battery power, you cannot get in. There was one instance that I had to get my roommate’s girlfriend (who is quite tiny) to get in my trunk and climb through the whole in the back seat to pop the trunk. Of course I know now there is a special way to turn the key to get in the car if there is no power, but at the time that’s the best solution we had come up with.
People constantly ask me why I keep dumping money into the car, especially during the cash for clunkers deal that had been going on a while ago. The truth is I don’t know why I love my car so much. You just build up these relationships with your things, particularly ones that you use and are in contact with on a constant basis. We have a way of personifying these inanimate objects, we understand them, we connect with them, we bond with them. Not only do we become used to the little quirks in our everyday things, but we come to expect those quirks. Sometimes even preferring the oddities of our products. This goes back to when we were children and had our stuffed animals and action figures that we had gotten attached to.