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A spin in a Corvette fulfilled a writer’s dream, and cemented a friendship
   

By Stephanie Georgopulos
   

I always thought my first love was Aladdin. But that was before I laid eyes on a Chevrolet Corvette. I was 8 and nowhere near driving age, but once I saw a bright red vette pull up next to my father’s yawn-inducing beige sedan, I knew what a real car was supposed to look like. I think every kid grows up with an idea of what the perfect car should be, and from that moment on, I’d found my ideal. It was etched in exhaust—the Corvette was it.

I spent years swooning over vintage Stingrays, imagining wind blowing through my hair every time a convertible zoomed by. Once my family moved up north from the city to Rockland County, New York, where people relied on their cars rather than public transportation, I got my Corvette fix more regularly. They were everywhere—riding alongside the bus that transported me to school, racing along the freeway, parked in shopping mall lots. I was all the happier for it.

But I was never more in love with the Corvette than the day—years later—that I got to ride in one. I was new to town and had few close friends in high school. When my friend J. invited me over to her place after school, I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know that this invitation would lead to one of the most memorable car rides of my life.

When we got to J.’s house, her father was in the garage hammering away at a woodworking project. To his left was a car with a tan cover on it. After introducing me to her father, I asked J. what was beneath the cover. Her father proudly chimed in.

“It’s my Corvette,” he said. “1967. Much older than you girls.”

I couldn’t hide my excitement. “Can I see it? Do you mind?”

Her dad stood up from his workbench, wiping his hands on his jeans. “Of course not. J., help me with the cover.”

The two of them unfastened the cover. There it was: a red ’67 Stingray. They say your pupils enlarge by 45 percent when you’re in love, and I swear I felt mine expand. J.’s father quickly registered my excitement.

“J., why don’t you take the car out for a spin? Steph looks like she’d love one.”

J. looked at her dad in surprise: Clearly, this was a limited-time offer. We looked at each other, squealing.

“The keys are on the kitchen counter,” he said. With that, we were off.

We drove around the county and J. showed me where all our classmates lived, like we were on some sort of suburban version of those Hollywood homes tours. We drove past our junior high and down New Hempstead Road, a winding path that usually made me hold my breath but exhilarated me this time. I was in a vette! Me, in a Corvette! For once, I was in the car that everyone else on the road couldn’t help but admire.

Eventually our joy ride had to come to an end—our explicit instructions were to be home before sundown—but our friendship was just beginning. We’d spent our time on the road gossiping about boys, talking about our pasts and singing along to the radio at the top of our lungs. I knew I’d found a solid friend that day.

Now, whenever I see a C7 on the road, I’ll think of J.—and all the other little girls who are waiting for the chance to take a joy ride in their dream car.

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Stephanie Georgopulos is an editor at Thought Catalog. Her work has been featured on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Awl, Gizmodo, The Next Web, Refinery 29 and elsewhere. Email her at Stephanie@thoughtcatalog.com.

 

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