Nothing prepared you more thoroughly for adulthood than cars. They were big and important, essential even. Owning a car was proof of being an adult, a serious person, someone to be reckoned with. True, cars had costly needs. But in turn for satisfying those, they gave you power and pride. They were the mobile variant of the reality principle.
Once, I branded a leather seat in my father’s car with the car’s cigarette lighter.
His face went white with anger. He was so angry, he didn’t even hit me.
When it was my turn growing up I looked for carless ways to do so.