When I was eight years old, I really, really wanted to be able to drive. For some reason, my dream car was a 1991 (that was top of the line because it was, well, 1991) white Ford Taurus, and I sat in the front seat of my mom’s 1983 Pontiac 2000 pretending to drive my own car, negotiating the turns along with her. When I was nine, I finally got to drive a go-kart around a track at an amusement park, but instead of racing, I practiced checking my blind spot because that was more realistic. When I was thirteen, my best friend Karin and I agreed to share a dream car: A black Honda Civic coupe. I had no hesitations about learning to drive when I was fifteen, which is so young when I think about it now, but that’s Georgia. When I got my license at sixteen, I had limitations on were, when, and how I could drive, but it was as wonderful as I had imagined, even though I had to share my mom’s 1993 Ford Escort station wagon with her (she still has it) as my classmates received Mercedes SLK 230 roadsters, no joke. And finally, I graduated high school. The graduation, I didn’t care much about, but I cared that going to college meant I needed a car. Using the money I had saved since age eleven, my parents helped me buy a 1998 green Honda Civic sedan. She entered my life on April 16, 2001, and I named her Carma, and I loved her dearly.

Carma had 27,000 miles on her when I started driving her. She went back and forth from home to college and college to home for four years, and she and her CD player witnessed my progression from blink 182 to My Bloody Valentine. Senior year of college, she went back and forth to Atlanta when I spent every weekend with Jeffrey, and then she took us to New Orleans during spring break 2005. On the way back, late Sunday night in rural Alabama (redundant?), her exhaust system fell off, and to this day, that was the only real problem she had, and it wasn’t her fault. It turned out, before she belonged to me, she lived in New York and the road salt corroded the metal.

In 2006, on my way back from a concert, Carma and I were rear-ended by a Trailblazer, and when she was out of commission for two weeks, even though I had a rental Sentra, I missed her. And now, just like a human with a nagging, aching injury, when it rains, her trunk leaks. It leaks onto the floor of the back seat, thoroughly soaking the carpet, but again, it’s not her fault. Knock on wood, she’s never left me stranded and never acted up.

Last night, I took Carma for a special drive because her odometer was at 099996, and I squeed when it rolled over to 100000, then pulled over and took a picture. I kind of make fun of people who are Chevy or Ford devotees, but really, I’m one of those people who swears she’ll always buy Hondas. I still love driving and I still love my little car even though she rattles and her door handle broke of a few years ago. When I drive, I talk to her and to the plastic frog names Miles (get it?) I affixed to the dashboard the day I got her, because we’re a team. Happy 100,000, Carma!