When life hands you lemons

Need I mention that I’m looking forward to the weekend already?(: That’s one week down and three more to go.

 

I drove my VW bug to work yesterday, and I have to admit I miss cruising in it. I remember how I used to feel like the car was huge. Yes, huge. We were tiny then, and climbing into the back seat was no trouble to my sister and I. We could even swap seats- from front to back- while my mom drove. I went to kindergarten in that ride. It was a solid shade of apple green then, and I always thought it was the happiest car I’ve ever seen or rode in, and boy am I happy my family owns it. Then came my primary years that saw less of it because I carpooled with a neighbour and had only what was referred to as weekend rides when the family would go out. At that time, the bug was in a magenta-ish shade that quirkily attracted many Indian buyers who were interested in our car. High school was when I would do everything to avoid being associated with the car. I thought it a lemon, and I definitely didn’t want my friends to think my family couldn’t afford a better ride, because we could but apparently, didn’t seem to want to. I got over this phase after five years and went to college driving it because I worked part time and distance came into play. And at this phase, it was a gorgeous shade of metallic red. Now, as a full time work machine, I hardly drive the bug anymore. On weekends with time left to spare, I only clean the car I take to work and back (because I feel like it is a responsibility), and my mom will occasionally clean the bug. She used to keep the bug in a pristine condition, until- as she always puts in- my dad started driving the car. It’s still that gorgeous shade of metallic red, but a little more rusty, slightly torn on the upholstery and could definitely use some TLC.

I’m 25 this year, and the trusty ‘lemon’ is just slightly older than I am. It has a history, one born out of love, dedication and perseverance. My dad bought this VW bug when he was studying, reason being that it was the only car he could afford then. For the period that he was studying in Singapore, he fell in love with this girl that would eventually be my mom. And when he came back to Malaysia, he kept that long-distance relationship alive by making trips to Singapore in his bug to see my mom. The bug didn’t have an air-conditioning system until much later (because it was originally manufactured for temperate countries), so they would wind down their windows and feel the breeze in their hair, and then wipe grime off their faces when they reach their desired destination. True account.

The trusty lemon has broken down quite a few times. Well, technically it has never broken down dead and failed us, but it has had its fair share of brake failure/a broken throttle spring/stucked window/missing petrol cap incidents in its account, and one major accident to top it off, but nothing that has entirely handicapped this ride. My aunt even managed to drive it all the way to the Thai border with a broken fan belt she didn’t even realize. My dad can give you a complete first-hand account of all the said mishaps. It is an understatement that does no justice to my dad and the car when I say ‘he knows the bug well.’ Ask him and he will gladly teach you how to tune the engine to a certain rev and keep driving if your accelerator’s gone, or how you can use your ears to hear the change in sound to make a clean shift in gear when your clutch is dead, or how to drive with your handbrake at play when you have a broken pedal brake. If you were wondering, the major accident was my mom ramming into the tail of a lorry, causing the front of the bug to crumple up under the lorry’s back. But my mom had but minor cuts and bruises from the impact. And the missing petrol cap? Forgetfulness struck dad early in his 40’s, having him drive off without the petrol cap after filling up on gas. Of cos, we got a replacement. But it didn’t fit well like the original cap did, unfortunately.

I’ve never felt more attached to this ride than at this point of my life. For what reasons, I don’t know but I feel like it has worked hard to prove me wrong- about it being a lemon- all these years. And if it were entered into a navy crew, my trusty lemon would have been awarded a Navy Cross or some sort of an equivalent.

I might be too big now to swap seats with my sis in the bug, but I’ll never be too big to love a tiny classic like this. And if life handed me lemons, sure. I wouldn’t mine more of these really.(:

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