Bubbles & a smidge of personification

Those of you who know me in real life probably know how much I love my car. Aaaand those of you who don’t know me probably know how much I love my car (see “Bubbles the Bug” page). If you read the story on the aforementioned page or if I’ve told you in person, you also know why I love my car so much. She’s very special to me and I make sure she is properly groomed (clean on the inside), bathed (car wash) and has frequent checkups at the doctor’s office (mechanic). But, the truth is, she’s getting, well, old. 

Don’t tell her I told you that.

Sometimes I hear questionable noises when I don’t have her brand-new stereo system bumpin’ out the likes of Miley Cyrus or Iggy Azalea. Her rear hatch (uhh, underwear? I’m stumped) only opens with the physical key, not just the fob, and she has quite a few pimples on her face (spots where the paint is chipping away).

I watch my colleagues walk across the road to the parking lot just outside of my apartment and climb into Audis, BMWs and other respectable, new-looking cars. It pisses me off that sometimes I look at them with envy, wondering what it’s like to have a completely reliable car. Bubbles definitely does the job –– don’t get me wrong –– but the reason why I bought my plane ticket to Long Island this week instead of driving seven hours is so I don’t stress out or hurt my baby.

It’s when I see those fancy-ass cars (and when my ex drove me around in his car) that I mentally reference The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, a novel I read my freshman year.

Chipping paint or not, Bubbles is still a car and she does her job very well. I’m so fortunate to even have a car. Plus, what 17-year-old receives her dream car the first time around? Probably not too many.

In the novel, Randy tells of the time when his wife, Jai, backed out of the garage right into the front of his Volkswagen convertible. She panics over the damage done to his car, but Randy remains calm.

“After dinner, we looked at the cars. I just shrugged, and I could see that for Jai, an entire day’s worth of anxiety was just melting away. ‘Tomorrow morning,’ she promised, ‘I’ll get estimates on the repairs.’

I told her that wasn’t necessary. The dents would be OK. My parents had raised me to recognize that automobiles are there to get you from point A to point B. They are utilitarian devices, not expressions of social status. And so I told Jai we didn’t need to do cosmetic repairs. We’d just live with the dents and gashes.

Jai was a bit shocked. ‘We’re really going to drive around in dented cars?’ she asked.

‘Well, you can’t have just some of me, Jai,’ I told her. ‘You appreciate the part of me that didn’t get angry because two “things” we own got hurt. But the flip side of that is my belief that you don’t repair things if they still do what they’re supposed to do. The cars still work. Let’s just drive ’em.'”

Sometimes I get self conscious about my cute little car and the noises she makes. Sometimes I wish I had the money to invest in a new outfit for her (paint job). But you know what? She does what she needs to do and she hasn’t let me down.

“Take care of it and it’ll take care of you,” the woman who sold me the car told me when I was 17.

Moral of the story: appreciate what you have. I think I do.

Bubbles is so, so special. She gets me from point A to point B and has since my senior year of high school. I would’ve hated for her to read the beginning of this post, but I think she’d be delighted by its ending.

I can’t wait for spring when I can finally treat her to a “spa day” as a reward for getting me through a rough winter.

Emily in a very packed Bubbles on the way back to Bonaventure from her summer internship.
Emily in a very packed Bubbles on the way back to Bonaventure from her summer internship.

Two years of “The Bubble”

Two years.

Two freakin’ years.

You have got to be kidding me.


Papa handed me the check. I cashed it. Envelope overflowing with money. Most I’ve ever held.

Most I’ve ever spent. I handed it over and drove an iridescent Volkswagen Bug home. Mom and I were positively giddy on that ride back.


During the Eucharist at mass this morning, Oct. 14 (I’m not a usual churchgoer…I just happened to be at Mt. Irenaeus), I noticed an older gentleman go up for his share. He wore khaki pants and a checkered dress shirt. He hunched over just a tad.

My eyes were glued.

He reminded me so much of Papa.

Reminders of Papa do not crop up as often as they used to. I’m on year two; I’ve adapted. I get sad sometimes, but it’s not as overwhelming as it used to be.

I had to stare at the floor so nobody would notice my tears. My chin started to do its “I’M ABOUT TO CRY!” wobble and I bit my lip to halt it.

I’m in college. The only older gentlemen I see are friars and a few professors. How often do I see men in their 80s? It’s just not a daily thing anymore.

So it struck me. Especially on the day marking two years since the purchase of Bubbles.


I felt you today, Papa. Thank you.

Thank you for “The Bubble.”

The squeshed bug

I don’t think it’s possible to outgrow sidewalk chalk. It doesn’t matter what age or gender you are. It’s something for children, but kids in their upper teens can enjoy it, too (ahem, like myself).

For our first Easter together, I put a basket together for Robby. I put a pack of Crayola sidewalk chalk in the basket and Robby thought it was odd. I think he thought we were a little too old for it (he was 15, I was 16). Then, one beautiful day in July, I took the chalk and started drawing. A zoo erupted from the chalk:

Robby even joined in after awhile. We’ve done plenty of chalk drawings since then. He drew a house for us up on a mountain, and I drew ants below it (derived from Ingrid Michaelson’s song “You and I,” which is one of our favorites). We’re not the most talented chalk artists, but we have fun with it.

Today brought warm(er) weather, forcing us outside to ride our bikes, sit on the porch and, finally, break out the chalk and dust it off. I decided to draw my car (Bubbles the Bug…she might need her own page on Blackbyrd pretty soon…). While I was drawing the car, Robby drew a comet just above Bubbles, ready to crush her. Then he wrote “= SQUESHED BUG” (‘e’ in “squashed” instead of an ‘a’ – I got a kick out of it).

It turned into a war with chalk. He drew different ways to destroy the Bug (one even included a fly swatter), and I came up with ways to fix her up again. It got way out of hand when I “set fire” to his bike by drawing flames on the ground all around it. His comeback was by drowning MY bike.

You’re never too old to have fun with sidewalk chalk.  Just remember that.

Me, sitting in my Bug

That Bug

“You and that Bug,” he said, looking at me over his spectacles. It’s the customary look received upon stepping into his office (for me, anyway).

Yep. That Bug and me. The perfect pair.

I had my mom’s Suzuki Forenza today, and she took Bubbles. Why? Because I feared Bubbles lacked room to haul Adam and his belongings back home from Fredonia. Turns out Bubbles would have done the job just fine (Adam doesn’t over pack like I do). Flo (Mom’s car) is nice. She drives well and barely requires a touch of the pedal to get her going.  She even has an aux in outlet, and, with a chord, I can play my iPod flawlessly. What Flo doesn’t have is my personality. Bubbles does.

Bubbles is my baby. She’s a “she” not an “it” and I love her to death. It may seem odd for a person to have such an intense relationship with his/her car. But, if you think it’s odd, then you don’t know me and the way I think.

“You and that Bug.”

Yep, me and that Bug. [Excuse the “me and.” It adds emphasis.]