Pimp My Volvo


While riding on the Transbridge bus across Jersey to Pennsylvania for the Memorial Day weekend, I passed a bizarre sight. A woman was driving a fuchsia-colored Volvo (don’t think it comes standard) and every inch of the hood was encrusted with a fantasy in lavender. Barbies, ponies, stars, sparkles, magic wands…fender to fender fabulous. The seats were recovered in a black and white animal print fabric. And a woman with flaming red hair, the artist, drove it, pretty much at the speed limit. On my side of the bus, peering out of the window were just women, all varying ages. And we stared and smiled and wondered who she was and how she did it. But not why. We didn’t have to ask. We just smiled and nodded, falling back into our private memories, of our own pink Barbie convertibles or My Little Pony or just a Schwinn with streamers on the handles and playing cards on the spokes. 

Later, the bus passed the fuchsia fantasy car in a different lane, I watched two men seated opposite us look out and register…absolutely nothing. Not a smile or even an eye roll. That moment reminded me of every reason we love to interview women. Their willingness to reveal personal truths and connect with powerful memories lies just below the surface. It doesn’t take a lot to get us to let the little girl out. And the dreams that are still part of her. 

Reality TV shows lure guys into tricking out trucks and cars on Pimp My Ride and Monster Garage, as a way to be cool or just plain crazy. But my memory of the marvelous Volvo reminded me of what’s really under the hood. When it’s hers.

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January 22, 2022
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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