I didn’t buy my first car until I was 25. I was able to use one of my parents’ old cars throughout college (they usually came to me as they were falling apart and I attempted to extend their life as long as I could before they’d collapse) and I lived in cities with good public transportation following college so it was easier not to have a car. However, around my 25th birthday, I moved across the country and was going to need my own vehicle so the time had finally come to dive into the world of car shopping. Not having my own vehicle to test drive others made it challenging but I had friends nearby who graciously offered to shuttle me between dealerships one cloudy Saturday. I scoured used car websites for a couple of weeks leading up to the day I was test-driving them and saw dozens of cars come and go through the websites. I planned ahead and called the dealerships the day before I was going to test drive the different vehicles to ensure they were still there and mapped out the most efficient route to hit four different dealerships in the span of a few hours.
I had narrowed down my choices to a handful of different SUVs/crossovers. I looked at a Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, Jeep Compass, and Ford Escape, all ranging from 3-8 years old at the time. The experience at each dealership was different in their approach but I was able to drive away from the dealership with my “new” 2013 Ford Escape. Disappointingly, my first ride in my own car was through a torrential rain storm so it wasn’t much of a joyride but I was still excited to have made it through the process and have my own car.
I was never one for naming my cars, but I decided to call this one Murphy if anyone asked for two reasons. First, it seemed like a simple, reliable vehicle and was a few years older but still pretty steady. This reminded me of my neighbor’s dog when I was a kid, an old golden retriever named Murphy. She was calm and steady, just like my Escape. Second, are you familiar with Murphy’s Law? It states anything that can wrong, will go wrong. Well my vehicle wasn’t a complete lemon, it had a number of issues that kept popping up every time I brought it in for a simple oil change. I finally had to cut my losses and sell the vehicle when I was told I’d have to replace the transmission but I still appreciated everything Murphy had done for me. That vehicle was the first I had for myself and represented a major transition in my life, literally carrying me across the country. I’m glad I reflected on that vehicle with a positive lens, despite the headaches and hits to the bank account Murphy provided. We always remember our first love.