Something To Chew On
March 11-17, 2019
By Becca Bona
My Dad shouted this phrase enthusiastically every morning as he got ready to take me to school. As a seven-year-old, I was awed by his bright red, first generation Mazda Miata complete with flip-up headlights.
I could overlook those chilly mornings when the soft-top didn’t quite keep the cold out, because there was nothing like cruising into the carpool line with the top down and my favored, braided pigtails slightly messy from the ride over in nice weather.
My favorite part was playing the cassettes. Those little plastic boxes with band names lettering them were important to my musical education.
Plus, we got to listen to the music loud, because with the top up or down, the Miata didn’t quite have the best sound for listening to music. (We just didn’t tell Mom.)
Every morning, after referencing the headlights, Dad would ask the most important question of the day.
“Alright, Bec, who’s this?”
“We are the sultans, we are the sultans of swing …”
“Hey, you, get off of my cloud …”
“Dance all night, play all day, don’t let nothing get in the way …” and other lyrics would swirl through the air as we started on the route to school. Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Stones, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and so many more were a part of our routine, and I would do my best to guess correctly.
My go-to answer was The Beatles, because their name was the easiest for me to remember. Before Dad had to give the roadster up, I was at least able to identify The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Cars, with an occasional hint thrown my way.
The “Yacht-ler” as we called it, proved impractical for toting two daughters around. Dad sure was proud of it, though. I learned how to take care of interior leather in that thing as he would sing, “Armor All The Way” in the style of “Whistle While You Work,” when I offered to help him wash and detail his car.
Ever since, I’ve had this nostalgia for first generation Miatas, and if I’m honest, I really want a “fun-to-drive” car.
I did take a few cues from my Dad in the car arena when I got my hands on a 2007 Honda Accord. More of a reliable, mom-type car, I’ve grown to know and love the navy-grey sedan. (As in, I’ve Armor All-ed the seats a couple of times, and I do my best to take care of it.)
The other day, though, I was driving along blasting The Cars. I was listening to my phone through my car speakers, which to be honest, sound much clearer than the tapes in the Yacht-ler – and nearly twice as loud.
I can probably blame the music for what ensued. Namely, I didn’t notice the incredibly loud noise my front left tire was making as it lost air and slapped the pavement.
The cause? A nail. On top of that, the starter was shot and I couldn’t get the thing running the next day.
Luckily my boyfriend helped me out, and replaced the starter for me. To do that, though, you have to disconnect the battery, and my Honda Accord won’t let me play music without entering my radio serial code after reconnecting it.
This is to protect against theft, but I’ve decided I’m going to drive along without music, which I was explaining to my Dad the other day when I gave him a ride in the sewing-machine quiet Accord.
Me: “Wasn’t it cool to have a cassette player? I wish I lived in a simpler time.”
Dad: “I guess. It wasn’t that great of a sound, anyway.”
Looks like it’s time for me to get a Miata. They’re more fun and I’m more likely to really notice a flat tire. Send all Miata leads to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column was originally published on Feb. 12, 2018.