My Island Car


Anyone who’s ever rented a car on the island has a pretty good idea what it means to drive an “island car”. We’ve had cars that could barely get up a hill, had no brake lights, were missing mirrors, without mufflers, had bald tires, no radio, no antenna, burned oil, a bumper that scraped the tires, and had the occasional flat tire. Once we even rented a Jeep and in the middle of a down pour the roof flipped back. At this point we don’t even want a new car! We’ve only had them twice in twenty-one years. The first time was when we had spent the day on Orient Beach and it was obvious someone tried to break in. The second time was when we won the rental in a free drawing. We happily turned it in without incident and quickly downgraded to an “island car”. The dents do not bother us one bit. We’ve received the same exact car for the last three years. Actually, we’ve gotten somewhat attached to it.

Since Irma the definition of the “island car” has changed to “hey it runs!” It doesn’t matter if it is completely dented with parts missing, or mirrors dangling, or if it has any glass. The first time I saw someone driving without a windshield I was taken by surprise. After that, I was looking for the most creative use of it. My top three picks were: First, the car where something hit and shattered the drivers side and they carefully removed that section alone. Second place goes to the car where the entire windshield was shattered except for a tiny spot just above the steering wheel. Lastly the car that removed it altogether.

Some buses look fine at first glance but then all the side windows are missing. Since so many drivers are in the same situation, it isn’t hard to imagine a shortage in replacement glass. Three months and counting, we’ve seen so many creative applications used to remedy their plight. Plastic wrap, garbage bags, surfing materials, duct tape and any of these used in combination with one another. Towels, even though they don’t work that well, are a favorite. I think the funniest, though, was a tarp. At this, point if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry and not stop. It amazes me how everyone has made do with what’s been literally thrown at them.

Cheers to you and your island cars. You always make me smile.