Long Story Short: Saying good-bye

Cars have never been my thing.
The need is clear.
Point A.
Point B.
We need a way to get from one to another. That is the purpose a car
serves in my mind. All the fanfare and allure often connected to
automobiles zooms right past me.
Yet, for all of my practicality when it comes to vehicles, I have a
confession. The last car my husband and I bought was different.
From the moment I took it for a test drive, I knew that little SUV was
mine. I loved the seats; the way the steering wheel turned so easily,
the display board. I loved the air conditioner and the sound system. I
even loved the cup holders.
I had been driving my car for nearly seven years and expected to
continue driving it for a while to come.
With the hassle of air travel — especially for short trips, since
9/11, we’ve taken more than our share of road trips. Washington, D.C.
North Carolina. Chicago. Orlando. Destin. Countless trips to my
hometown. All in that car I loved so much.
We were comfortable. We were good for each other.
Abruptly, last week as I was driving down Ambassador Caffery, my
beloved car died.  I thought it could be resuscitated and took it in
for repair.
I left it in good hands, believing we would reunite in a few days.
I didn’t bother clearing out the variety of items currently residing
in my car/office/closet/cupboard — including the half-filled 5 pound
bag of yellow onions, pair of faded psychedelic rubber boots, bag of
Mardi Gras beads, three road atlases, 38 CDs, stray petrified French
fries, chicken nuggets and Skittles, 14 books, three packs of playing
cards, lots of socks (not all mine), battered booster seat, wooden
salad bowl and pepper mill.
But, I was wrong. There was no saving my adored auto. The end had come.
Turns out, I hadn’t done as good of a job taking care of it as it had of me.
My husband performed the gruesome task of cleaning out all our belongings.
I never got a chance to say good-bye. I realize the silliness and
shallowness of my affection and near grief over the loss of a car,
especially in such dire economic times.
But I can’t help myself.  I’m sad to see it go. It played a major role
in the life of our family. We will miss it.
My husband admits he loved the car too.
“I was so close to that car that if it were possible I would have it
crushed down into one of those tiny cubes and use it for a coffee
table in the living room,” my husband said, only half-kidding.
“Knowing there would have to be a few socks and loose change somewhere
there in the compressed metal — sort of like having an urn of Uncle
Charlie’s ashes on the mantle.”
May the road rise up to greet us all in whatever car we drive.

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