I knew that I would need a car in order to live the way I wanted to, down here.
The village is small, Lila cannot get on buses and I want to explore.
So I started looking for cars some time in the Summer, from the US.
Nothing seemed to quite do it for me.
I wanted cute. I wanted fun. I wanted reliable. I wanted cheap. As they say in Mexico, I was looking for Buena, Buonita y Barata.
I was really tempted to buy a VW bus. To let my ya-yas out about that (or was it to attract one?) I started making small paintings of them. For a while, I had five paintings going at the same time. It helped a little.
I kept looking.
Still, nothing seemed to stick.
But one late night, perusing once more the FB car ads, I saw HER.
She was glorious. The most delicious shade of yellow (you know, the kind with just a hint of orange?) a handmade roof rack that looked as though it would hold piles of cakes rather than a surfboard, and a 1992 birth date, just like my baby girl.
I saw her and I knew she was for me.
She happened to look like a cross between the little toy VW car that sat on my desk for years at the Center, and the Fiat 500 that I have used as an image for one of my courses.
It was meant to be.
She looked like "me."
(Notice the repeated use of the word "look" and hang on to this for later, please)
It was December 30 and I would be in Mexico in two days.
I connected with a local mechanic recommended by a girlfriend, asked him to go look at it and tell me what he thought.
He thought she was great. Just needed a couple of things adjusted and he could take care of all of them and have her ready shortly after I arrived.
I sent Pedro the money and he bought it.
I was elated.
I decided to name her Margarita. Daisy in Spanish.
This would be my 4th VW bug and I always thought I had another one coming my way.
The first one I bought in Seattle in 1986. My kids' dad and I drove it the following year all the way to Miami to give my sister as her first car. We got married on the way - I won't mention what we did to fill the tiny tank one last time before arriving in Florida on fumes. Let's just say that we almost landed in jail for our honeymoon. She was a rich red color, she drove like a champ through the 3,300 miles. If she was uncomfortable, I did not notice. I was 24 and everything was comfortable.
The second one, I barely remember. I think she came to me in 1991, before my first kid. I do know that I had a friend paint her a bright fuchsia color and that I drove her around Anacortes for a while.
The third one. Oh, the third one. By then I had my three kids, a big dog, and very little money. My marriage had ended and I was hanging on to our home for dear life. Every month I would re-invent a new way to pay the mortgage. That month, the solution du jour was to sell our van. The proceeds would pay the mortgage and leave me with $400 to buy a primer blue VW Bug someone was selling in town. It did not run all that well but I knew someone who would fix it in exchange for making him some dinners. Perfect. The day we got it, I had the kids paint whatever they wanted on it, with tempera paint.
A few days later, I painted daisies all over it and I thought it looked beautiful.
My 7-year-old son was mortified and he still talks about it.
To add to the charm, it had no horn. Well, no horn that anyone could figure out how to use. Unless we turned left. Then, for some unknown reason, the car would go beep-beep and people's heads would turn. My son mapped out all the different ways we could go from A to B without turning left. Especially to school. Poor babe.
Eventually, we sold the Flower Power Bug to someone who was super excited about fixing her up and my honorary mom gave me a loan to buy a proper Subaru. The first time I tried to start it, the engine screeched as I turned the key while it was already on - not believing that any car could be that quiet while running.
As I said, I felt that there was another Bug in my future and that bright yellow one (I was pretty sure it was smiling) sure looked the part.
On January 1st I landed in Mexico and a few days later, Pedro called me to let me know that he was on his way to bring her to me.
I waited outside my little house as he sent me videos of him driving down the highway, first through the city, then through the jungle. "She is purring," he told me. I could hear it in the video. She was one smooth-running car. And they were moving fast, too! "Margarita vuela!" he said. "Margarita is flying!"
Oh, the fun we were going to have, Margarita, Lila and I.
Standing in front of my house, I saw him turn the corner onto my street. She was even cuter in person. She rumbled all the way to my door, Pedro flashing her bright headlights as if saying Hola!
He stopped right by me, smiled, got out, and with a flourish, invited me to step inside. A VW Bug lover, he was as happy as I was.
I could smell the unique VW Bug smell. It brought me back so many powerful memories. Getting married, taking this long happy road trip, later on squeezing all three kids and our dog to go on adventures... and now this.
Did I mention how beautiful she was? How bright and shiny she was under the Mexican sun?
I stepped behind the wheel.
I adjusted my butt on the seat.
I took a look around.
Pedro was waiting, still smiling.
And all I could feel was ... a big, terrible, belly deep NO.
(stay tuned for Part Two - which we could call: the Big A** Lesson)