Thursday, July 17, 2014

At Least I Can Get Supervised Visits?

This week, I sold a member of my family.

No, no, the animals are all still here alternately begging for people-food or piling themselves bodily onto me whenever I try to actually follow the doctor's "modified bedrest" orders.

No, I didn't sell Jason. For... you know, there are just several reasons that wouldn't happen.

I sold... Carl.

(my car)

I told everyone in this post that I had bought a new car so that Jason and I could have at least one vehicle with a backseat in a family that is rapidly expanding to include tiny fragile beings that require specialty seating. I mean, I could just duct-tape my infant to the bucket seats in the back of my old Cougar but somehow, I feel like somebody would probably call CPS for the obvious child endangerment happening there.

So... we had to buy a new car.

The problem with that is that our carport fits exactly two cars in it, so the Cougar's been kind of hanging out in the front yard for a while, back in the broad sunlight and weather exposure it has spent much of its vehicular life experiencing.

That car is fourteen years old.

It was bought for my sister when she went to college, and a few years later was passed on to me. It was the second car I drove with any regularity, the second hand-me-down - the first being a farm truck I borrowed for a couple of years until I had to go to college and was forced to acknowledge that the farm truck, while it could make the drive down there, most likely would not be as easily able to make the drive back.

Carl got his name from my sister's then-boyfriend-and-eventual-husband, because our rural Midwestern accents apparently stick a not-quite-an-'L'-sound on the end of the word car. Thus Carl became a he, and has been a he ever since. I've never liked the idea that all cars are women anyway, there are some cars that have always struck me as decidedly male and Carl was one of them.

After Carl came to me, I took him down to SIUC for college, where he parked in broad sunlight and in snow, caked up to his axles in ice or fall leaves or rain. When we moved to South Carolina he spent two years in the apartment's parking lot, where the only difference was that the amount of time spent caked in snow was... uh, exactly once, for about three days.

But the sunlight, man. The sunlight was much stronger.

In any case, he's been a good and a faithful car to me for ten straight years (except when he misses the tow truck guy's affections), which is sort of terrifying to think about. In all that time he's only died on me three or maybe four times. I have taken this car there and back halfway across the country multiple times, and he never let me down on those trips. We've taken Carl up to Bryson City and into the mountains and he's always come through.

But I sold him, because someone decided babies can't just bounce around free-range inside vehicles all willy-nilly. Pfffft.

Fitting with Carl's history, we sold him to a friend of ours whose teenager needs a vehicle to drive, so he's gone from teen to teen to teen.

We settled on what we thought was a pretty good, fair price, and included an oil change in it since God knows the car was highly overdue for one.

So Jason had this plan to drive Carl to work, and then to our friend's house afterward to make the sale. Sunday, we set on cleaning out the car and making sure it was ready.

That's when we found out the car had been sitting without being run just a wee bit too long.

Because it wouldn't start.

We towed it in to the dealership Jason works at, and guess what? Dead battery!

Sooooo that night when the sale was made my friend got herself a nice car with a brand new battery, and now he's gone on to his new home. After ten years, though, I had gotten a bit of attachment to my little red sports car.

It's the first car I ever owned outright, when my parents tranferred it over to Jason and I.

I drove it to weddings, to college, to new apartments and a new state and, eventually, to my first grown-up home. I have driven it after walking for six miles in 90 degree weather (don't worry, I was driving home to shower and honestly I'm not even sure why I thought walking six miles in July was a good idea). I have driven it on two vacations with Jason, driven it back to Illinois more than once, and I guess it's kind of hard to realize that last time I did that was, well, the last time.

I'm not one to get attached to vehicles, honestly. To me they are mostly screaming metal deathtraps that hurtle themselves along highways and it's a miracle any of us make it anywhere alive, when you realize how incredibly distractable people are. They are tools that cart people and things and get us from point A to point B. I have a tendency to make faces at people who talk about cars like they're people.

But it's hard to utilize anything basically every day for a decade without getting at least a little attached. I have important relationships with people I've known for less time than I knew this car.

Godspeed, little Cougar.

It was never a car meant to be driven by us cranky old people (you know, the way people approaching their thirties are old); you're a car made for teenagers and college kids and back to teenagers you go.

You wouldn't have liked a screaming baby duct-taped to your backseat getting licked in the face by my dog, anyway.


  1. This is very sweet. Objects become imbued with meaning over the course of time & use, and naturally they seem to have personalities!

    1. Personifying inanimate objects is basically my passion in life.

  2. I feel you so hard on this post. A car functions for you and protects you in such a personal way. And it ends up being not just present but, like, vital during all these countless moments. I mean shit, when my last car threw a rod, I felt like a friend died. You paid kickass tribute to Carl in this post though. Rawr to the Cougar.

    1. I am so happy we were able to sell Carl to a friend, too - I get to see it! It's like supervised visits, or goign to see your kid at college.


Comments make the world go round - please leave your thoughts and I'll make it my goal to answer!