Monday, February 07, 2005

conversation starter

Since May last year, I have been the proud owner of a 1971 VW Beetle 1302s. This has taught me several things. Firstly, the price of a new engine. Secondly, exactly how long it takes to run in said new engine. In fact, every time it breaks down, I learn something new about the engine. Unfortunately, every time it breaks down something new has gone wrong (usually with the engine) so what I learned last time doesn't help.

But more interestingly, I've learnt that everyone has a Beetle story. Mention the bug and out they come; learning to drive in one, the one my Grandad had that started every time and climbed snowy hills when nothing else could, the one where the handbrake broke off, the troublesome one that kept breaking down, the noise, the smell, how many people you can squash in the back, the helpfulness of other Beetle drivers. Some are told affectionately, others with annoyance, amusement or scorn, but everyone seems to have one.

Most seem to come from the age group who learnt to drive in the 60s and 70s, but not all. Perhaps it's a generational marker that will fade with time, but bugs are resiliant creatures and I think as long as there are bugs on the road and people like me to keep them going (i.e. pay the garage lots of money to fix them again), there'll be more Beetle stories.

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