An Ode

I think that this post will sound ridiculous to 90% of the people who read it. Maybe that's why I feel like I need to write it down, because I think that eventually I'll think it's ridiculous too.

I'm selling my car this weekend. It's been a bit of a process, but after washing and detailing and inspecting it, someone is interested in buying it, and we've agreed on a price that we're both happy with. Perfect, right?

Well, I probably should be happy with this outcome, but the whole thing has been emotionally tumultuous.

This car is a 2000 Acura 3.2 TL. It's got a dark metallic body that DMVs can never unanimously name, and grey leather seats that always burned my legs during Florida summers. My dad bought it in 1999, and it was his sports car that every dad seems to get at some point in their lives. It has a lot of power behind it. It one of those cars that you find yourself accelerating at every opportunity, just because your daily commute isn't filling its true potential.

This was the car we always took to the Miami Metro Zoo with my dad as a kid. Cassie Brown and I would sit in the back seat on the way, and imagine grand adventures with beanie babies. The trunk always had water bottles, a windbreaker, a metal flashlight and hotel hand towels. When the car was full, I'd have to sit in the middle, because I was the smallest. My dad liked to keep the car cold, so my knees would feel frozen pressed against the air vents in the console.

Eating in the car was strictly forbidden.

My dad went through a lot of musical phases when we drove this car. Ray Charles, Norah Jones, the Libera boys choir, and so many more CDs were put on repeat. Sirius Radio was becoming a thing at that time, and I remember when my dad paid for his lifetime membership and got the antenna installed on the trunk. I forgot that it was ever there until I hand washed the car this week and saw the slight shadow that it had left behind.

After I got home from Russia, my parents generously donated the car to my use. They drove it from South Florida all the way to Colorado, and then I took it on to Idaho to be my car for college.

It was starting to show its age by then. There was an unexplainable (and unfixable) oil leak that stained driveways and roads. The rear view has broken so we had industrial velcroed a new mirror atop the old. The driver's seat was missing a piece of leather where people slid in and out, and the body was dented after almost 10 years of being a family car. It was still in great shape, though.

It really saved me in college. I could finally go to the grocery store and buy more than I could carry home. I started going on drives to Idaho Falls, I took road trips to Utah, Wyoming and Colorado for family events, concerts or even just to visit friends. It was how I took my adventures, with a can of dr pepper in the console and a bag of pretzels in the passenger seat. Once I even got my hand stuck in a can of Pringles while I was driving through Wyoming. Another time I got the whole car stuck in a snowy intersection and had 12 people push me out.

I never really wanted to sell it.

A few weeks ago, after a series of foreboding events, my little car was stuck on a hill, dead and seemingly hopeless. I thought that night that I would have to scrap it, and I cried and I cried in my bed. It ended up working after some new parts and a lot of cash, but I realized that I didn't want a unreliable and old vehicle anymore. Christian told me that he had a friend looking for a car, and we've struck up a deal.

Looking at possible cars to buy next, I feel as though I'm betraying my little Acura. I look out at it from our window and I feel as though maybe I should just run it into the ground and figure it all out later. When I drive it I wonder why I even wanted to sell it. I have this one-way relationship with my car that I didn't know how to resolve or how I could ever say goodbye.

So I talked to him.

On my drive home tonight, I talked to my car in a lot of the same ways that I talked to my dog in the last few months of her life. I drove slowly through the dark and just talked about all the vivid memories that I've had driving it. I told him that he was a good car, and that I would miss him a lot. I parked in front of my house, stared at the odometer and tried to comprehend all the miles that this car had driven with my family. I patted the steering wheel, took my work parking pass off the mirror and got out.

Then, a sudden recollection. My car has been almost completely emptied of my belongings when I cleaned it, but I remembered that there was a fortune from a fortune cookie in the passenger ashtray. My friend Laurel had put it there during a road trip two years ago, and it hadn't left my car since. I knew that I should grab it, so I ran back to the car to pull it out.

There, in that unused ashtray, was a little slip of paper that read "Something on 4 wheels will soon be a fun investment for you!"

After my emotional (and perhaps ridiculous) goodbye to our family car, I found closure in that small piece of unwanted future.