Vanity Plate: Welcome To VW

I’m so proud.

After enduring years of my incessant and mostly incoherent car chatter, my best friend, Carolyn, has taken the plunge and bought herself a Volkswagen.

Sure, it’s a 2002 Golf 2.0 – nothing that would be likely to impress a seasoned enthusiast. I’m still slightly confused by the fact that my influence prompted someone to buy a base-model Mk4 Golf, and somewhat ashamed that the tales of my adventures in learning to drive standard seem to have scared her towards an automatic transmission for good. But it’s got a warranty, which I understand could matter to a lot of people, especially someone whose previous vehicle ownership included an ’86 bottom-of-the-line Mustang painted flat blue with a roller (not, I might add, in an attempt at the “rat-stylz” look). Everyone’s got different priorities, I suppose; the important thing is that she was finally able to find a car that suited her needs.

So when she returned home from a night of test drives and saw my instant messenger away message (“Carolyn, if you buy a VW, call me immediately!”) she probably knew that she was really in for it, and there would be no turning back. I was as excited, if not more so, than she was. And thus the interrogation began.

Cherise: “So is it cloth or leather?”

Carolyn: “I can answer this one! Cloth! It’s heated! And the mirrors are heated, too!”

Cherise: “Two-door or four-door?”

Carolyn: “Four!”

Cherise: “Steelies or alloys?”

Carolyn: “Ummm…”

Cherise: “Your parents probably hate me now, right? They’re worried you’re going to start wasting tons of money on your car like I do.”

Carolyn: “No, they didn’t mention it.” Pause. “Actually, I’m kind of surprised.”

Is it truly pathetic that I found myself mentally modifying her car before she even signed the paperwork? Inasmuch as we occasionally wore matching shirts in Sixth Grade (neither of us will deny that we were dorks), I imagine us side-by-side installing matching purple silicone coolant hoses on our respective Golfs. It’s kind of an ambitious step for someone whose previous car modifications consisted of Spongebob Squarepants interior accessories, an iPod, and the full range of Yankee Candle Car Jar air fresheners, but I have faith in my friend. I have to remind myself to slow down. Not everyone is eager to start changing a newly purchased vehicle, and that, despite whatever I have managed to convince myself, it’s not even my car to personalize. But at the very least, Carolyn definitely needs one of those cute VW bubble-head girl window stickers. A homecoming gift, perhaps?

My best friend finally owns a VW, but probably won’t be making the trip to Waterfest any time soon (although the theme of partying is universally appealing, the aftermath of staring at a sea of chrome rims while nursing a hangover is, admittedly, not). So maybe I won’t have a new car-show buddy. We probably will never discuss sidemarkers and headlights with the fervor normally reserved for analyzing a new style of Dr. Martens. My suggestions to polish her Avus rims will forever be acknowledged with a puzzled grin. I can accept that. When she babbled about how much fun it was to drive the Golf, how well it handled, and how happy and excited she was, I realized it was enough. I don’t have to make her VW experience similar to mine, but I’m satisfied that I led her in the right direction.

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