Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Death Rehearsal


I saw my old car off to the scrapyard after it finally died last week. That mileage is all on the original engine. Allow me to get all old-folksy for a moment and aver that they don't make 'em like that any more, no sir.

There's a lot of things I won't miss about it. As you can imagine, a car that's traveled that much isn't the most comfortable ride anymore. I hate bucket seats as a rule, especially since it takes more effort to haul my rheumatic joints up and out of them. Stickshifts are just an unnecessary pain in the ass. Cars in general never seem to have enough room to suit me, and I'm a pretty average-sized fellow, not particularly tall or wide. The rear windows wouldn't go up all the way, leaving about a half-inch open. The automatic window motors would have cost over $200 apiece, though, whereas a strip of black duct tape across the opening only cost a couple dollars — easy choice. The glovebox latch had first broken loose, then mysteriously vanished, so it was held slightly ajar with a velcro strip. The AC stopped working a long time ago and would have needed to be completely replaced to bring it up to current standards anyway, but I never wanted to go to that much expense — getting from point A to B has always been my main concern. Still, the fan only blew hot air no matter how far the dial was turned toward the blue. A dark-colored car with hot air leaking out of the vents on an August day in the South — it was like riding around in a four-wheeled toaster.

Perhaps I'm just inclined to be a little bit mournful today anyway, but despite those gripes, I did feel genuinely sad to see it go. I've heard it said in many ways, and I agree, that significant changes in life make us a bit uneasy because they remind us of the inevitability of the most significant change of all. However easy it will be to replace my means of transportation as opposed to a loved one, there's still a noticeable hole in my routine. Another chapter, however banal, has been brought to a close. Watching it rise onto the back of the tow truck was like plucking a string on a web, sending vibrations through all sorts of dormant memories — the places it had been, the passengers it had carried, and all the myriad associations attached to each. No, I won't really miss the car, but I will take a moment to rue the separation.