In a short period of time, it became necessary to replace both cars in our family.
First to go was The Saturn.
I was deeply sad to see it go, but, apparently, none of my friends were.
This one is for the haters.
After graduating from college, I did a few, responsible, adult-y things. I consolidated my school loans, I got a full time job and I bought a car.
It was 2002. I’d just bid ‘adieu’ to The Rustang–which had carried me through all university adventures and holds a dear space on my heart–and I wanted a car that I could drive without fear. A car that didn’t have me constantly asking: “What smells like it’s burning this time?” With my Dad as my Wingman, I visited RL Smith Auto Sales in Rensselaer, NY.
Mr Smith purchased cars at auction and ran a small lot. He had a son and some grandkids and he was honest. By the end of the afternoon, I’d acquired both a 3 year old Saturn compact–midnight blue–and my very first car loan.
It had power nothing and a manual transmission. It was the nicest car I’d owned, following a string of FSBO hoopties. Low miles, a shine still to its paint, and a jaunty zip.
AND EVERYONE LAUGHED AT IT.
My closest friends snickered because even their rusty, 4th generation Hondas had power windows. “It’s made of plastic!!” shrieked a friend who paid a mortgage-sized bill on her brand new Montero every month. “It’s so tiny!” said the backseat full of people who had no other way to get around. “You still HAVE that thing???” gawped EVERYONE IN MY LIFE at least once over the course of our relationships.
No one gave that car any respect, and it ticks me off.
It died at the side of the road in 2016, nearly 15 years after I’d purchased it. In that time, I replaced only 1 clutch, 2 sets of brakes, a rear door lock mechanism and a side mirror. IN TOTAL.
The Saturn explored the entirety of NY and pretty much the rest of New England. It got sandy in Hampton Bays and it bumped down dirt trails in the Adirondacks. It made a few visits to Niagara Falls and it crossed the entire country in 3.5 days stopping only for gas and Mount Rushmore. It got me to and from work and was my constant companion as I explored Seattle one parking lot at a time. Not content to know only a single coast, The Saturn moved on to explore the PNW…rugby games, hiking trips, long weekends at the beach, another move to another city and wine country.
All this, to say, I loved that car, and it served me well. It is undeserving the condescension and snooty snubbing it’s received these long years. So here’s a big middle finger to all the naysayers; The Saturn was awesome, and you all were lucky to have ridden in it.