Have Metro, Will Travel

By Beacon Staff

Rewind to the winter of 2001. I am driving my three-cylinder Geo Metro from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Missoula. I had rushed, packing everything I owned into every bit of available space of the tiny two-door hatchback. Had it been a game of Tetris, it certainly would have been a world-record high score.

My beagle, Oliver, nestled into a down comforter pulled loosely over the top of my belongings, and the two of us headed west. We made the trip in a day-and-a-half, pausing only for a four-hour nap south of Sioux City, Iowa; it was four-and-a-half days faster than my previous cross country trip in the “Blue Streak.” She was aptly named because her official color was competition blue.

She wasn’t the most powerful beast. I remember several times where, while passing cars in second gear ascending Snoqualmie Pass, the “hum” of the engine sounded more like a child mimicking car noises while playing with Hot Wheels.

If it had any qualities worth bragging about, I would say it was maneuverable. Parking was never a problem and I could pull a U-turn at the drop of a hat (which I did to resounding cheers on Interstate 5 in Oregon). And of course there was the good gas mileage.

But if I had wanted a car for bragging rights or the cool factor, I would have kept my 70’s Volkswagen Superbeetle, a car I miss every single day. The fact is, the only reason I even traded the bug for the Metro was because the Metro had a heater and I was tired of scraping my frozen breath off the inside of the Bug’s windshield.

I sold the Geo in 2002, purchased my Subaru Outback and never looked back – until now. Last May a slew of Internet articles, including this one from CNN and this one from Autobloggreen, have brought to my attention how I may have sold the “Streak” prematurely.

Statements like “…the new ‘it’ car…” and “…from clunkers to chic…” combined with the new wave of popularity almost had me convinced that I had made a mistake in selling her. I loved the little lady, but have tried to remind myself how fearful I was of being in an accident. Being crushed like a tin can would not have been an understatement.

Still, I feel like a kid who just barely missed sitting at the “cool kids” table. I had the “it” car when girls would still make fun of it on dates. Maybe, though, I’m the one who started the trend. Look out for the increasing wave of Subaru’s…oh, wait.