What is one of the most expensive things that you've ever bought for yourself?
There really are not all that many things that I would consider expensive that I’ve bought solely for myself; most of those I’ve either shared with someone or bought for someone else. But I think the purchase that best answers the question was my 1997 Pontiac Firebird. It was just the base model with a 200 horsepower V-6 engine, 5-speed manual transmission and silver paint job. I bought it from the now-closed Rodgers Pontiac on South Main Street in Dayton, Ohio, and the test drive was memorable, at least for the salesman. We took it out and I headed over to I-75 to feel how it handled on the highway. But instead of gunning the engine as the salesman expected, I just smoothly merged and went a few miles at the speed limit. I really just wanted to test the car for comfort, but I guess most forty-year-old men looking at buying a sports car are having a midlife crisis and want to feel the power. That wasn’t me. I found the Firebird’s seats to be extremely comfortable and that sold me.
The best feature of the car was its t-top roof. You released a latch on each side, removed each half and stored them in the trunk. It made the car look and feel like a convertible and I got quite a few “cool car” comments. One of my favorite Friday summertime habits was cutting a cigar at work around 3:00 pm. After gnawing on it for a couple hours, I’d leave work, light up as soon as I left the building and walked to the Firebird. I’d put the t-tops in the trunk and enjoy a nice ride in the country, puffing all the way home.
While most cars I bought were shared in one fashion or another, only I drove the Firebird. Not because I was selfish, but no one else knew how to drive a stick. That made it exclusively mine, and it remains the favorite car I’ve ever had.