Remember that quote from "Forrest Gump" about how you can tell a lot about someone by looking at their shoes — where they’re going, where they’ve been? Well, I feel that way about my car.
My little 2004 Hyundai Tiburon might not look like anything special, but it really is to me. I bought it my senior year of college. I commuted every day from Oxford to downtown Cincinnati for an internship and the hand-me-down I drove didn’t even have airbags.
I figured I should at least have a safety restraint system in place if I was going to spend 10 hours a week on a road people eerily referred to as the "Highway to Heaven."
I worked three jobs and was able to buy that car. I was pretty proud. It had all the bells and whistles of its time — namely a CD player I didn’t have to jimmy-rig to my walkman like I had to do in my hand-me-down car. (Yes, I said walkman.)
After college, I got a job in Philadelphia. This was the first time I would be moving away from the Tri-State, so it was sad to think I wouldn’t get to see my loved ones (or that cute new guy I had just met in Mt. Adams) very often.
Despite the distance, Mr. Mt. Adams and I got serious. We talked a lot and traveled to see each other whenever possible. Airfare was expensive and didn’t really save too much time, so the Tiburon and I made many, many nine-hour Cincy-Philly trips.
The first couple of times I made the trip, it was grueling. I surely sprouted some premature greys as I drove alongside speeding trucks on the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s hairpin turns. But then, I learned how to make the most of my time in the "Tibby."
As I mentioned in a previous column, I called my mom and we’d talk for hours. It was great catching up and strengthening that bond. Over time, I grew restless in my Philly job and I wanted to come back to the Queen City. I began to devise plans for how I’d get back. And somewhere, between the West Virginia border and Hershey Pennsylvania, the idea for Cincy Chic was born.
It dawned on me that there wasn’t a decent publication for women — let alone women with a sense of fashion — in Cincinnati. I made the decision right then and there that I would be the one to make that happen! After that, I looked forward to the nine hours of peace and quiet the Tibby offered. I used it to brainstorm and mentally create what we now know as Cincy Chic, the only online lifestyle publication for women in Greater Cincinnati.
I started to make the entire drive with no music. I didn’t want to be distracted. I let my mind wander, dream and create. I’d use a voice recorder to document my ideas and to-dos. All that "Tibby Think Tank" time helped me to quickly launch the business as a side project while still working in Philadelphia.
I grew it with every ounce of spare time and money I could scrounge up. Six months later, I made Cincy Chic my main focus and the Tib and I made our last drive back to Cincinnati from Philly behind my now-husband (Mr. Mt. Adams) in a U-Haul van.
Fast forward three years: I was recently in a head-on collision and my car got pretty banged up. Luckily, no one in either car was seriously injured, but my Tibby was in bad shape. I had to make the decision whether or not I wanted to fix it and keep it or use it as a trade-in on a new car.
My husband thought it was the perfect excuse to get a new car. But the decision wasn’t so easy for me. I test drove a few, but it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t ready to let go of my special car. I made too many memories in it to let it go so abruptly. I loved it too much to see it for the last time as a crumpled pile of metal.
I know it sounds silly, but this car is so much more to me than four wheels that gets me from Point A to Point B. I don’t care if it’s not the newest model out there, if the CD player isn’t so high-tech any more or if the headlights got a little foggy.
I decided to keep my car and get it fixed. When I got back in it for the first time, I apologized for being unfaithful and test driving those other cars. To make it up to the ol’ Tib, I decided to spruce it up and make it look like new again.
I de-fogged those headlights and buffed, waxed and shined the body up like the day I bought it. I’m kind of glad the accident happened now. It made me realize how much I love my car.
And, you know, I’d love to sit and write more but my shiny new Tibby and I have some more memories to make! Please enjoy this week’s Transportation issue and then go out and make some good auto memories of your own!