Say hello to Robin (Hood), my 2011 Hyundai Sonata. My first new car since 1996.
My first car ever was a 1995 Acura Integra coupe. Dark green. Leather interior. 6 CD changer. All decked out.Â My brother Onk who was living in Oklahoma at the time bought it for me per my dad’s order and had it shipped over to me, obviously ignoring my plea to buy something sensible since I was living in the dorm at USC at the time.Â South Central is NOT a good place for flashy car.Â Since Onk got to drive it around Norman for a few months before shipping it to me, dude just wanted a sports car and justified the “reliability and safety” to my dad.Â A sports car on one of the “safest campus in the U.S.” in the middle of one of the worst neighborhoods in Southern California. You know where this story is heading, don’t you?
Surprisingly, Tequila, as I came to call the car, wasn’t stolen from campus outright.Â His wheels, however, were.Â Naturally, about a month into having the car in my possession, I was called to the parking structure by campus security.Â Tequila was left sitting on 2 jacks and some stones as the thieves had taken his 4 wheels.
Then sometime late 1999, at 3 a.m., my mildly intoxicated self took the parking space a few buildings down from my front door instead of parking at well-lit, lightly monitored parking lot a block away which I paid for monthly.Â 4 hours later, my slightly hungover self returned to the parking spot to find a Chevrolet parked where I left Tequila.Â I walked up and down the block and even went back to the parking lot a block away in case was much too buzzed than I remembered and parked somewhere else.Â Tequila was nowhere to be found.Â According to LAPD, my car was the third 1995 Japanese cars stolen from the neighborhood in 3 weeks.Â Great.
No long after that, in early 2000, the boyfriend and I broke up while I was still car-less. While still hiding out at my at-the-time best friend’s house to lick my wounds, her dad helped me pick out a new car.Â We found a used, 1996 blue Toyota Corolla.Â Reliable 4 wheels and a CD player, all I really need at the time.Â Soon after that, this boy at work named Brandon started to hang out with me, trying to make me feel better and helping me cope with my heartbreak, like a knight in shining armor.Â In that train of thought, an image of Merlin the Wizard in bright blue robe popped into my head.Â Thus, the old reliable was called Merlin.
Fast forward to somewhere in 2010, Brandon and I were discussing getting me a new car.Â Merlin is still purring like a kitten although his “balding” has gotten progressively worse.Â Brandon’s brother in law is a Toyota chief mechanic and he ensured us what we already knew: the Corolla will rust through before the engine dies.Â We could plunk money in to fixing up the paint job, or I could just buy something nice for myself.Â I was still debating buying a new car because I mostly ride the bus.Â Deep down though, I think I don’t really want to give up Merlin just yet.
We did some looking around and a bit of soul searching for me.Â While my sight was set on a Hyundai Genesis Coupe originally, Brandon wasn’t going to let me behind the wheel of another sports car.Â When we set foot on the Hyundai dealership, this red car I thought was a Genesis sedan called out to me.Â It wasn’t a Genesis but a Hyundai Sonata 2011.Â We test-drove it, and I was smitten.Â Still, I hung on to Merlin.
But then, my credit union qualifies me for a very good deal of a car loan, but I have to act before end of February.Â At the same time, another one of Brandon’s sister suddenly finds herself job- and car-less (long story).Â It is as if Merlin used his magic to align the universe so I would give him up and move on.
This morning, we went to pick up a silver Sonata from the dealership.Â I usually let the car (or a piano, a guitar, or a Kitchenaid mixer…) tells me what it wants to be named.Â Our sales guy left to go get the car, then came back because it wasn’t up front like he thought it was supposed to be.Â We did some more paperwork, and he left again to find the car in the next lot, and still couldn’t find it.
“Robin Hood,” I muttered.Â Brandon looked at me.Â “The elusive car that doesn’t want to get caught.”
He crinkled his nose.
“Would you rather me calling him Thomas Crowne? Pink Panther? Banksy?”
“You’re so weird.”
“Robin Hood it is.”
And here we are on a Saturday afternoon, with Robin in my parking spot, waiting for Stephanie to pick up Merlin.
Letting go. And moving on.
Gosh. I’m tearing up a little over here…