Monday, September 29, 2008

Sometimes a car is not just a car

The picker-upper people contracted by called today to arrange pickup of my 1991 4-door, black-cherry-with-grey-interior Plymouth Sundance. They're going to take it away and strip it and melt it down and do all sorts of nasty things, all in the name of saving the environment. I'm euthanizing my poor car and sending it to "heaven" largely because it will not pass another emissions test, and because buying a new catalytic converter for a '91 doesn't seem wise.

Back to the call. The fellow called me sweetie. They should be able to pick up the car tomorrow or Wednesday, he said. I hung up the phone and cried. Truth be told, I've been weeping pretty much since the call. I realize it's about more than the car; I've left my job, I don't yet have another one, I'm feeling quite worked over, and... And, there was one more thing. Oh yes, I'm getting rid of my beloved car.

I'm sad to say good-bye. Buying this car, used, from my mom, was a big turning point in my life. I'd always felt incredibly vulnerable driving alone on the highway - especially on the 401 - but at a certain point, I decided I was ready to take on this great big huge step of independence.

My car has been there for me; it's reliable, it's zippy (my husband says it's not zippy, but it is), it's comfortable, you can fit anything into the back hatch - including an enormous desk and countless billy bookcases - and I drive it well because I feel like I can see, sitting up nice and straight.

And it looks like a Merc when it's clean.

Once I had the car, I think I drove everyone I knew home from work at least once. Which gave me city driving experience, and taught me that it's better to take the TTC, unless you want to be cursing at the top of your lungs before 9:00 a.m. I bought heavy groceries, and sometimes, during my more lonely times, I'd just take a drive to be out in the world.

The night I met my husband at a party - to prolong my contact with this incredibly attractive person without being too forward, I drove him (& our two mutual friends) to catch the last subway at, like 1:40 a.m. I was SO glad I had my car that night.

And of course my husband drove me to the hospital at 4:15 a.m. in labour in that car, and we drove our baby home from the hospital in that car, and I nursed him countless times in countless parking lots, and the thing is I'm going to miss my car.

We have a new one. And it's real pretty. But that's not the story today.

I'm saying good-bye to a chapter of my life. And it ain't nothing to be sneezed at.

PS: weirdness: I just noticed I put three times, all "a.m.", in this post.

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