E. Winter Tashlin

Tobin [Picture Tells A Story]

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | August 30, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Aircooled VW, animism, bug, Christine, Herbie, PTAS, roadtrip, Volkswagen, VW


Today's photo is of Tobin, my 1972 VW Super Beetle. My husband and other partners say that he's as much a partner in my life as any human lover, and I suppose that they are right to an extent.

I owned air-cooled VWs in college, and when my tired Subaru drove its last mile, we decided that another old bug was the best financial choice we could make since Owen and I can do the lion's share of the work on it ourselves. Remarkably that has proven over and over to be correct. In the three years since I switched back to old bugs, we've spent about half as much on my car as on other beaters we've owned.

That's a big part of what makes this photo somewhat special to me. That grass under Tobin's tires is at at a retreat center in Maryland, while I make my home in Maine. For complex reasons, I was unable to borrow my husband or my boyfriend's car to drive here for a work conference, leaving the thousand mile round trip resting on the bug's diminutive frame.

The plucky little car got me down here, and that's not entirely unremarkable. When we bought him, he was barely able to make it back to our apartment, yet three years later he held his own on the drive down here.

I wish I could tell you that either of us were in great shape at this point, but I can't. On the Tobin side of things, about twenty minutes out from my destination, a bad clunk developed in the passenger side CV joint, which likely hasn't been touched in at least fifteen years. As for me, within twenty-four hours of my arrival I'd developed one of the severe upper respiratory infections that are such frequent, if unwelcome, guests in my lungs and sinuses.

So we both went and saw our respective mechanics today. I've got medication and a prescription for rest that will be hard to follow given the work I'm doing down here. As for the car, the local air-cooled mechanic has new CV joints coming in for what will hopefully be a straightforward repair job - if not a cheap one.

I'm an animist reared on Herbie the Love Bug and Steven King's Christine, so it's of little surprise that to me there's a special relationship between a guy and his car. I know that I'm the one who bought the bug, and fixed him up/kept him running over the years, yet in my mind it's Tobin who got me here, rather than the other way around.

That may sound like lunacy to most folk, but I'm OK with that. Soon enough we'll be back on the road with the miles racing by and, in those moments, I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks about my transportation choices.

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