Updated: Nov 17, 2022
I bought my first car when I was sixteen from Facebook for €80. It was a Seat Ibiza, and it was older than me. I called it Izzy, because Isabelle was too long. Had the car been personified, I’d imagine the type of person you’d meet in a smoking area in a nightclub, and the name Izzy seemed to suit that brand. I want to say that Izzy and myself went everywhere, except we didn’t. Izzy was so bet up that I refused to drive her on the road. Her last NCT was in the noughties, so getting insurance would have been impossible. I opted for spins around paddocks. The most dangerous thing I could bump into was a tree. That was until my father and I would follow the cows from one field to another with Izzy. That was the closest I had been to farming since childhood, without actually farming.
Rather than having a CD player, Izzy had a cassette tape player. This was music to my ears. In a want to be even more unique than I already was, I had started collecting tapes thinking they would come back into fashion. They never did. Pleased by Izzy’s accessories, I headed into Arklow to buy some tapes. I ended up paying €7 for over twenty tapes, three of them I got for free because the shop owners couldn’t wait to get rid of them. I already had Elastica, Garbage and Tracy Chapman tapes but none of them worked in Izzy’s player. The only two that worked were Therapy? and The Prodigy. I was glad, they made me feel invincible while spinning around.
I learned how to drive properly on Izzy. She was so old that there was no bite when I placed my foot on the accelerator. I remember telling other drivers this, none of them believed me. I started to think this was my own problem. I’ve had very little feeling in both my legs since birth. Although I was right about Izzy, she had no bite.
Izzy did however have a bark. The minute I turned her on she would make an excruciatingly loud noise that was only comparable to a shotgun. I preferred when she was silent. Some days when I had spent too long inside the house, I would go outside and sit in Izzy. She had a particular smell, that wasn’t necessarily nice, but I loved it all the same. There was an air freshener hanging in the shape of a llama’s arse, surprisingly it smelled like vanilla.
My friends used to sit in Izzy. It was a private setting, where no one else could hear us. We used to name their cars too; Fiona the Fiesta, Mick the Micra, Austin the Audi. Out of respect, I’d never drive them anywhere. I wasn’t bad at driving, I just didn’t take criticism well. As well as that, Izzy wasn’t exactly the safest vehicle to be moving around in. Izzy became an inside joke with my friends. We would say we were travelling to the west coast. How would we get there? Izzy. The last time I sat in Izzy my friend told me she loved someone else more than me. I couldn’t stomach inviting anyone in after that, not even my parents.
The clutch broke three times, it cost €30 to fix. I refused to get it fixed the last time, it would cost more than the car itself. I felt like I had given so much to this car; repaired it’s engine, adjusted the mirrors, bought covers for the seats. I even bought fluffy dice to fulfil my boy-racer dream. Months passed and it was still parked awkwardly outside my garage. The last time I drove, I wanted to get out so badly I parked wherever I could. The car had to be towed.
There was €20 in change, a tray of opioids and a cassette left in the car before it got scrapped. I didn’t care. The previous owner had left the money and tablets in the glovebox. Although I had the car for years, taking the money still felt wrong. Even my cassette didn’t feel as though it belonged to me, it belonged to the car now. The car that was never really mine. https://youtu.be/DwrHwZyFN7M