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Oh, You Rogue!

You can teach an old car new tricks.

When I moved to Portland, I bought my first car: a perfect green (perfectly ugly) Rambler Rogue. I paid $1000 for a car that ran almost perfectly for years.

I spoiled her faded, matronly body by plunging it into a small yellow truck in a residential intersection. My only defense was exhaustion; I had just finished my first year in law school. The humans were just fine, but the Rogue gushed blue all over the intersection. Heartbreak.

My boyfriend loved cars and had monkeyed around with them since boyhood. This was more complex body work than he had done before but his devotion let to months of rehab and a slogan for the future–Love me? love my car. She re-emerged as the lemon-lime Rogue. She had a shiny yellow hood and fenders fresh from the junk yard, on her straightened steel frame.

In search of my next human romance I discovered and relied on the Rogue’s special secrets. The front seats flattened back into a double mattress—they even took a fitted sheet if one was to be so delicate and planful. She was the auto-equivalent of the diaphragm: up-front and functional. Together we navigated the public lands of Oregon in those wondrous days before “sex” was modified by the word “safe.”

I didn’t think she’d make it cross-country so I let her keep her cushy job, trucking law students to school, for a few more years. Eventually I replaced her with a brand new little red Chevette. I sometimes regretted leaving the Rogue behind. She didn’t need red, shiny, brand new. She was a classic, beyond all that, beyond the term classic, even. Her light yellow and faded green body was like Sophia Loren however thick the glasses. She was permanently hot.