Last updated: February 4, 2003
I spend a large portion of my life in my car. Usually driving from home to work or vice-versa, but occasionally I just jump in and go with no destination in mind. I like driving; it's a form of meditation for me. It causes me to focus all my senses and brainpower on the task at hand. This has a therapeutic effect. On the other hand, I've grown to realize that everyone on the road is a complete fool and should never have been given a license (and, as these tales will no doubt illustrate, I am the epitome of hypocrisy). This node is a collection of some of the more interesting things that have happened to me while enjoying this wonderful pastime. They are all more or less true, and I've done my best not to embellish, but I'll let you be the judge. I've divided the stories up by car, which puts them roughly in chronological order.
'91 Mazda Protege
As my very first car, my parents gave me their blue 1991 Mazda Protege automatic. It had approximately 90,000 miles on it at the time, but was still in good condition. The early 90s Proteges were very light, peppy little cars, though they're certainly nothing special.
- Screaming Bullet of Compact Imported Death, or: How I Found Out My Mazda Protege Could Go 130mph
- Rocks Do Not Belong in the Road, or: How to Launch a Mazda Protege Into the Air
'99 Plymouth Neon
My second car was a 1999 Plymouth Neon coupe. The Neon is a sporty car; with a little weight reduction and some good tires and brakes, an otherwise stock Neon makes an excellent track car. It's easy to guess that I drove it like one.
- El Nino Claims a Victim, or: Porsche + Rain + Stupidity = No More Porsche
- How to Scare the Hell out of a Lexus Driver, or: Don't Take Sharp Corners at 50mph in the Rain
- High Speed Car Chase Through a Residential Area, or: Why You Shouldn't Piss Off a Mexican with a Gun
- Racing Friends with Fragile Self Esteem, or: A Good Way to Get Yourself Killed
'02 Subaru Impreza WRX
This is what happens when you give me a job paying me more than I'm worth. The Impreza WRX is an all-wheel drive sports car with gobs of turbocharged power and dead-on handling that never ceases to amaze me. It's the first actual sports car I've owned, and I've managed to get myself into plenty of trouble with it. Sadly, I no longer have the job I had when I bought the car, and I've since transferred ownership to my parents to escape the insane insurance fees (I was paying more per month in insurance money than I was in actual car payments). Hopefully, one of these days, I'll be able to buy the car back.
- Late-night Rally Driving on the Beach, or: Run Like Hell when the Cops Come
- Emergency Burger King Maneuver, or: Sliding Around a Tri-Met Bus
- My Car es El Coche Magnifico, or: The Oregon Trail Rally Eats My Dust
- Slide, thud, whoosh, crunch, or: Catholic Rally Stage 1 Fights Back
- Not all dirt roads are rally courses, or: Bambi meets WRX
February 4, 2003:
You may have noticed that I haven't noded many new Highway Tales recently. There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost is that, astonishingly enough, it seems that I've learned from these instances of bad judgment and have become a more cautious driver. I can't say this is a bad thing; it's good for my wallet (you wouldn't believe my insurance premium, in spite of never having caused an accident) and it's good for my health.
As I read over many of these nodes, I find that I am more than a little embarassed at the brash immaturity I displayed only a few short years (or months) ago. It's one thing to recklessly endanger my own life, but some of the things I did endangered the lives of others as well. In retelling these stories, I've purposely tried not to present my actions in a positive light. I may have gotten an adrenaline rush after power-sliding past a bus and into a Burger King parking lot, but I sure feel stupid now.
The moral, of course, is "don't be like me". I leave these stories here (and I may well add more in the future) because, luckily, nobody was hurt and thus I feel they have some small amount of entertainment value. But also, they serve as a reminder to me of how I've grown and, hopefully, of how important it is to take the responsibility of driving more seriously than I have in the past. I can only hope you will learn from my mistakes as I have.