He was old, worn, beaten up, ridden hard and put away wet. We had been through so much together for so many years, but I saw that the end might be near.
When the time came, I was so quick to drop him like a hot rock. I couldn’t afford the disruption, especially with my new job, I said. I was sure that it would cost more to repair him than it was worth, I said. Even if I got the repairs done, what would break next and cost even more, I asked. Why throw good money after bad?
Oh, so many excuses, oh, so quickly given.
She was cute, stylish, brand new, and cheap. But despite the price tag, she had more neat techno wonders than he had ever dreamed of. Built-in nav, Sirius, Bluetooth. Enough audio options to sink a ship. A big, shiny touch screen right there in the dash. A sun roof!
We were an instant couple, inseparable. To work, to the hangar, down to the beach. When we had family or friends in town, we took her instead of the fancy, flashy convertible with zero leg room in the back. She was comfy.
He sat there in the driveway, gathering dust and cobwebs. Every day my new-found love and I went sailing off to our daily activities, while his tires got a little flatter, his battery got a little more discharged, and his windshield got a little more caked in dust.
Finally, I had a need, a niche that possibly he could fill. Perhaps it might be worth the effort and expense. On the one hand, I was sure that he still had the potential. His heart was strong! A little tender, loving care and he would be good for another 100,000 miles! And didn’t he deserve a chance, after all that we had been through together? This was no fate for a warrior, to be rotting away in the front yard, waiting for the final tow truck to show up and ignominiously drag him off to oblivion.
On the other hand, there were so many miles, plus insurance, registration, ongoing maintenance. So many expenses.
In the end, I took the plunge. The repairs were less than I had expected, and as soon as I get some new tires, he’ll be ready for the next adventure. Now, because I want to make sure that he’s truly fixed, he drives off to work with me every day, while she sits, sulking, in the driveway. Only on the weekends when I go off to the hangar or on a longer trip does she get the call.
I should be thrilled to be back together with my old friend, right?
He has those big, comfortable leather seats, not the thin, small cloth ones. He has that solid, smooth ride, not the jittery, bouncy one. He has that really good air conditioning that can freeze your ass off in about ten seconds, not the one that takes five minutes to get going and then can barely keep up on a hot day. He has that comfortable feel that comes with fifteen years together.
But now it’s all wrong. It’s changed. It’s different, all out of whack.
She’s small and zippy. He’s like driving a battleship.
She can do a U-turn in front of the house without even trying hard. He rolls along with about the same momentum as a Sherman tank.
She has AM, FM, Sirius, Pandora, Spotify, Bluetooth to your phone, a half-dozen jacks to connect just about everything. He has a long-busted radio which has AM only, and if you forget and try to switch to FM, the clock goes nuts and has to be reset.
She has paddle shifters and satellite nav and a digital, multi-function display for a dashboard. He has a broken motor on the passenger side rear wing window, so it’s either permanently open or I have to disconnect it and hold it closed with duct tape.
The buttons on his steering wheel are all wrong! His power windows will only go down on their own, you have to hold the button the whole time to bring them back up! You not only have to use the key or the remote fob to open the doors, you have to put the key into the ignition and turn it instead of just pushing the button with the key in your pocket!
I know I should be more grateful, more loyal, more faithful. But I have tasted the sweet. sweet wine of youth and my heart is no longer in it for fifteen years and 188,815+ miles. I have made excuses and cheated, reveling in the thrill of the new, the fancy, the exciting.
I long for the days when I can be small and zippy all the time, not obliged to be huge and lumbering so often.
I’m having a mid-life automotive crisis.