Three years ago today at not even sixteen years old, I became a car owner. It was Christmas Eve 2010 when Mom and Tim went to visit his family in southern New Hampshire. Everyone was on the bug hunt, and his brother, Chris had scored. He told them about a bug in Raymond that we seemed promising, and immediately thereafter my parents did a drive-by.
We had been looking at bugs for almost a year and I was close to giving up. My color of preference was green, but at that point, I was willing to take anything (but black). I have a collection of matchbox bugs and every night I would look at them and daydream. Before falling asleep I’d take a small green one and drive it around my bed, envisioning myself behind the wheel and shifting down Main Street, Littleton.
I’ve always wanted a bug.
Since I was 12 years old I would tally how many we’d pass on the road, and which colors they were. I was a champ at the Punch Buggy game, and awaited my fourteenth birthday anxiously so I could submit my application to Polly’s Pancake Parlor and begin saving. I’d tell my dream to customers, and one day when I returned after a few days off, I had a present. It was the small bug I used to push around my bed. Apparently a couple I had brought coffee to were so intrigued by my story, they bought me a miniature with a note of good luck.
About a year later the search began. We Craigslisted, read newspapers, surfed the web, used word of mouth- but as my sixteenth birthday approached, no bug. Anxiety sunk in when I heard of Chris’ find. Was this the one? Could it be? The dream I’ve been longing to come true, become real?
Between work schedules and school vacation, Tim and I went down a week later so I could take a look at it. I even skipped school for it, which is a rarity for me. But this was more important.
After more than two hours of anticipation, we rounded the corner and there it was, catching my eye immediately. A pearly green, it sparkled between the boring cars it was parked with. At that moment, I just knew. With every passing second of my appraisal, my feelings of hopefulness elevated. Despite Tim’s complaints about its manual transmission (he didn’t think I could handle it…HA), the dealer wheeled it to Tim’s mechanic friend who- and I quote- called it “a tight little shit box”: his words of approval.
I bought it for $2,700- cash. My summers at Polly’s had paid off.
The day was January 3, 2011, the day I was to start Driver’s Ed and exactly one month before I was issued my license on February 3. It was meant to be.
A few days later I smiled as we walked to the Town Offices across the street. We registered it as “GRVYBUG” (groovy bug) to satisfy my hippie admirations. About a year later, however, it was changed to MEGABUG. (After hearing the toll collector in Hooksett call it gravy bug, I was done.)
I had my senior pictures taken with the bug, and named my photography business after it. In my college Marketing class, my final project was on the successes of the Think Small campaign of the 60’s. The VW Beetle is more than just a car to me, it’s a passion. One that I take everywhere.
Three years ago the odometer read about 116,000, but after many road trips across Northern New England, it is now closer to 147,000. I wrote a story on My VW, a blog for Volkswagen owners, and tagged its high mileage with pride. That tag soon brought me an e-mail from VW’s ad agency asking if MEGABUG and I would be interested in participating in their 100,000 mile ad campaign. Obviously I said yes. I’ve had a telephone interview and am awaiting an answer.
I love this car. It brings happiness and spreads good vibes wherever I go. When kids see me rolling, they punch each other. (Bus stops are the BEST.) There’s just something about bugs, and driving one is like being in a club. Perhaps even a cult. I was cruising down Route 125 when a yellow bug and I crossed paths. The driver flashed the peace sign with her hand, and I did the same. It was a moment of mutual appreciation for “The People’s Car”.
Although I am now looking for a new bug- and although this one has cost me so much in repairs- I cry just thinking of saying goodbye. This is my first car, the first dream I’ve ever seen become a reality. It’s so incredibly empowering to make something like that happen, and I’m thankful for the three wonderful years I’ve had driving the MEGABUG.
Oh, and PUNCH BUGGY GREEN NO PUNCH BACK! ;)
*While perusing the archives of this blog, I came across the post I wrote when I first bought the bug: A Far Out, Groovy Dream.
*And the one about learning how to drive standard: It IsTime.
*Then there’s the one where I discovered the 2012 Beetle: Impostor.