For you non-Latin-speaking readers out
there, that means "Time Flies".
And, sometimes while it's flying about,
it reaches out and smacks you in the
face, as it did to me this morning.
On the way to work, time reached out
its long arm and slapped me in the face.
I've found this is happening more and
more now that I'm - ahem - getting older.
Suddenly I feel a LOT older.
was listening to a CD I'd gotten for
Christmas, "On the Third Day"
by Electric Light Orchestra. I have
many fond memories associated with
this recording, as I first heard it
when my husband Rob and I were dating.
I think it might have been one of
the first cassette tapes he bought
after installing a clunky little cassette
tape player under the dash in his
'69 Beetle. The Beetle's name was
Humphrey, and that car was responsible
in large part for me buying my own
'69 Beetle, Bogart. But I digress.
of my Christmas gifts this year was
a t shirt honoring the 20th anniversary
of the GTi. Twenty years?? Surely
that can't be possible. If you remember
that the GTi first began in "Rabbit
format", then it is indeed possible.
All this got me to thinking (one of
my husband and I met, there were no
such things as DVD's, CD's, VCR's,
cell phones or Golfs. Although I don't
remember the actual cost, I'm sure
gasoline was so cheap per gallon then
that the stations probably paid US
to fill up. I remember well, waiting
in the long ridiculous lines of the
1970's "gas crisis", but
the gas we waited hours to get was
still cheaper than a gallon of milk.
Imagine that! Now we pay $3 and more
per gallon, but don't have to wait
to get it. At that time, Volkswagen
was still building the Beetle, for
crying out loud! In fact, VW still
built the venerable Bug when we got
married, and didn't cease production
of it until the year we bought our
house, 2 years later. The Rabbit hadn't
yet begun prowling the streets at
this time, and it was not unusual
to see new Beetles with dealer plates
cruising by. Geesh! I feel so old.
lot has happened since Volkswagen
built the first Beetle, but perhaps
even more has transpired since the
first GTi arrived. Plasma TV. Cell
phones. Recording devices. Unheard-of
medical advancements, including CT
scans. Microwave ovens. Recycling.
Hybrid vehicles. COMPUTERS. The knowledge
advancement in the last 30 years is
astounding. The differences in our
lives since then is even greater.
consider what was going on when the
Beetle first appeared. W.W.II was
just beginning to flare up, and Hitler
decided he needed to control the world.
And, in pursuit of that end, he also
thought a "car for the masses"
might make him wildly popular among
the German people, while giving them
something they badly needed: affordable
personal transportation. So, he commandeered
DR Porsche's idea for a People's Car
as his own, and production began on
the Beetle. Imagine the surprise of
the folks who first saw this car!
Small, with the engine in the wrong
end, and AIR COOLED! The world had
never seen anything like it before.
I'm sure it caused a huge uproar when
it first appeared. In my opinion,
no car since that time has ever rivaled
the uniqueness of the Beetle; not
the import of millions of cheaply-produced
Japanese cars, not the hybrids one
can buy today, and certainly not the
bloated (and silly, just my opinion
again) SUV. There is no other car
ever built that has even come close
to duplicating the popularity and
sheer "difference" of the
Beetle. And because of that, the Beetle
deserves a place in history as the
genuine icon it is.
arrival of the Beetle opened the doors
for the other small cars to follow.
In a word, it created the small car
market. Sure, there were small cars
before the Beetle, such as the American-made
Crosley, but none of them ever achieved
the popularity enjoyed by the Bug.
Why didn't they?? Who knows. Perhaps
it was a case of poor timing or marketing.
Maybe it was that the Beetle was "the
complete package" and the rest
of these small cars simply were lacking
something the public felt was essential.
Maybe it was simply because the companies
that produced them didn't have the
resources to produce and sell millions
of them. I'm sure marketing executives
could analyze this and give us all
an accounting. All I know (and I suspect
other might feel the same way) is
that none of these cars even came
close to the Bug's pet-like appeal.
Yes, it probably boils down to looks.
How sad is that?!? The Crosley was
a cute little devil, but not cute
enough to avoid being overcome by
the Beetle's "adorability factor".
The Mini Cooper, MG and Bug Eye Sprite
all came later so they can't even
be counted. Too bad, they are all
so darned cuddly.
don't know why all of this just suddenly
occurred to me. Maybe it's that time
is not bypassing me either, as I am
realizing how old I'm getting. Funny,
if I look in the mirror it sure seems
like I'm getting older, but sometimes
I still feel like a kid. And, if I
open the garage door and stare at
my two Volkswagens out there, time
stands still. THEY haven't changed
at all. One of them is now nearly
as old as me but will always remain
an automotive Dorian Gray, thanks
to me being born first. The other
is my "newest" vintage VW,
at 37 years old. I've owned this car
since 1975, and it's still hard for
me to believe that we both have aged
at all. (haha) So much water under
the bridge, yet so much more to come.
guess, all things considered, we all
age at the same rate. Yet, our Volkswagens
remain forever frozen in time and
either youthful or lovingly reborn
as such. Either way, it's hard to
get old when your vintage vehicles
don't. The cost of restoring a human
has to be more than good body and
paint work, right? But after a few
more years, I just might think about
it! Hey, if Vernon can have his face
lifted, I suppose I could do the same.