PUGSLEY was his name

December 1, 2009

My first car was a VW beetle, born and build in 1981. His name was Pugsley and he was covered in a vintage beige similar to the shade of soft rose skin or the pastel pink of the 3 piglets in those Mickey Mouse cartoons from 1954. His superb interior included b/w peppercorn patterned seat covers, a hip-swinging golden Elvis figure whipping in the front window and a lone 81 AM radio whose reception used to crack in every valley and went slightly out of tune on top of every hill. But for most of all Pugsley was mine.

With Pugsley and me it was love at first sight – his adorable vintage beigeness and smiling retro carriage rendered him more human being than automobile. I instantly knew that Pugsley would be more like a friend than just an ordinary car. He and I were the underdogs of suburbia, sharing road adventures and rewriting music history – him playing those cracked up old school tunes, me belting out loud the chorus, double trouble here we’d tugged along.

I remember one time when we hit – or better hobbled – the highway, me patting his dashboard and saying encouraging coos, him cursing the road with an anxious aching and suspiciously slow sliding noise. By the time we finally made it home it was a proud moment for both of us – for me because I made it home safely after the 1st trip driving alone; for Pugsley because he managed not to break down on the autobahn even though the hand-break was ‘accidentally’ pulled on for about 10km straight. No, I won’t forget the steaming breaks, the smell of burned rubber and my mum clutching tight to the fire-distinguisher in our driveway – a moment to remember!

During our time together, Pugsley’s successes may have been small for most people but his deeds were more than significant to me. Charming in his own ways, Pugsley was the king of the road and the hero of the highway, getting bug-top pats from passersby, smiles from strangers and waving hands from fellow VW drivers.

After all it was Pugsley who was there all along the way and kept me company during some life-changing events – the 1st awkward attempts to get from A to B as a P plater, the first big break-up (and subsequent break-down), the nerve-wrecking days during the Abitur finals. No matter what – Pugsley was loyal until the end, driving me through all the highs and lows, listening to my vigorous vent-sessions, my tearful tantrums and shameful sing-a-longs.

But unfortunately all great love affairs have to come to an end one day. Pugsley and I were wrenched apart by forces larger than both our little lives together. In other words Pugsley’s advanced age and lack of modern safety features such as air-bags and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) as armoury against road trauma alongside my virgin driving skills were reasons enough for my dad to submit good old Pugsley into the hands of a lovely old chap who assured me to only drench him out of the garage for the occasional leisurely Sunday rides.

This is to you PUGGY – I hope you’ll remember me as much as I do remember you. I hope you’ll still around somewhere, tugging along the roads Pugsley-style – slow, graceful and with dignity. And be sure, whenever I think of you, I’ll shed a tear and picture your polished pastel pink as you humbly rumble into a picture-perfect setting sun. xoxo


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