Eulogy to The Family Car
I managed to kill my car on Monday. This poor little car has been a miracle of wonders, as in I wonder how it managed to run so long on so much neglect. Subarus are the timexes of the car world I think, because she took a licking and kept on ticking.
My ex boyfriend bought her for me 3 years ago for $1,000, sight unseen. His mom and step-dad were supposed to check the car out, test drive it for us, and decide if it was safe for me to drive from New Jersey to Maine with my one-year old daughter. They never looked at the car in person, told us to buy it, and then Matt and I spent 3 days making repairs to it when he flew from Washington state to pick it up.
It was supposed to be a “one winter” car for me. She was a beast, and she just kept driving against all odds. The suspension was blown out so the car dragged over every lump and bump in our rocky driveway. The heater gave out two winters ago so we had the blower rigged up to a switch attached directly to the battery. Whenever it rained the floor panels got musty and the radio shorted out. Last year the steering column seized up, so we took it apart and rigged it so I could start the car with a screw driver. Earlier this year the back wiper stopped working. She burned oil, leaked radiator fluid, had so many holes in the exhaust system my little car sounded like a monster truck. Two years ago the ignition fuse blew out, stranding me in a Wendy’s drive through 40 miles from home while zach was out of town on a work trip.
As long as I stayed within half an hour of home, she drove like a champ. I never felt comfortable taking her over 55 mph, as there was a tie rod issue that caused a very noticeable shimmy starting at 56 mph.
And still she kept driving. She hasn’t been my favorite car ever, nor the longest lasting one. But she has been the most persistently working car. Nothing could make her stop. Until last Monday.
I was backing out of the driveway spot to make room for Zach who was coming home with a large load of hay in the truck. I only had 50 feet to back up, so Peep was sitting in my lap, back I rolled, down the little incline. I’ve done it 100 times before. This time I was pre-occupied with selling my car at the end of the month, and took a turn a little to soon. Up and over a tree stump I went. The bumper snagged the stump, and I was stuck. I couldn’t go forward because it was an 18″ drop I’d gone over. The recent rain storm had washed out the backside of the stump. I couldn’t go backwards because the stump was between the tire and the bumper. The topping on the shit sandwich I’d made for self was that I was still in the middle of the driveway and embarrassed for Zachary to find the car and I like that. So I said my apologies to the car, put it in reverse, and gunned it.
The bumper and fog lamp were left behind. I cleaned up the glass, parked the car and pretended like it was salvageable. I knew better. I finally got up the nerve to tell Zachary layer that night, hoping he’d be able to bend the bumper back into place so we could squeak two more weeks out of the car.
He came inside after looking the car over, shaking his head like he was about to tell me what I already knew in my heart but didn’t want to hear out loud. All he said was “I can’t fix THAT.”
Yesterday I cleaned her out and listed her for sale on Craigslist. “Mechanic’s Special, parts only.”
Goodbye little car, you saw me through my first 3 years in Maine. You came into my life days before Pip’s first birthday and are going out days before her 4th. You were good to me, took me to places I’d never been before. Enjoy car heaven. You deserve it, I literally drove you into the ground.