Friday, December 21, 2007

Bye Bye "Connie"

For some reason, it's always tough for me to let go of a car. I'm attached to the memories; the good times, the adventures, even the rough spots which in this case are significant. I remember the thrill of the "new car smell" driving out of the dealership, the pang of the first fender-bender, and the day I surrendered the keys to my teenage son and daughter and let them take the wheel while I pressed vigorously on the "invisible brake". Today a truck will pull up to the house and tow away my silver Ford Contour. I've donated the car to the National Kidney Foundation and it will be fixed up (I hope) and sold to a new owner or used for parts, whatever the need may be. The profits will be put to good use in the care of persons afflicted with chronic kidney disease so the donation is certainly for a good cause. The last thing we need around here is a car that is not being used taking up precious room in front of our house. I should be glad to see it go.

But, honestly, I'm sad to say goodbye to this car despite its shady history. This is the vehicle that carried me thousands of miles to and from work, on vacations, errands, expeditions, and outings for the last nine years. Aside from the the first few golden years, it has not been a very good car; terminally plagued with myriad issues including a pesky "check engine" light that never extinguished even when the best mechanics tried to diagnose the problem. And worse, over the last few years, the car displayed an annoying tendency to stall out erratically when braking; an unpredictable event occurring up to half a dozen times a day and then not again for weeks or even months. Just when I was convinced the problem had fixed itself, the misbehavior started anew. Despite the several thousand dollars expended trying to fix this vexing problem, nothing worked for long. Last month I finally realized that I was going to get in wreck if I kept driving this car; rear-ended at a minimum with a stall out in heavy traffic. I haven't allowed my children to drive this car for over two years because of its unreliable habits. The car has to go despite the modest 51,000 miles on the odometer. I only hope someone can finally fix it and drive it safely.

Yesterday I emptied the vehicle of "things"; an old umbrella, a kite, wadded up receipts, loose change, pens, and the garage door remote. I'm comforted to know that even though the car will be gone soon, the memories of the many important conversations, light-hearted laughs, and tense arguments that took place in that car, not to mention all the creative thoughts that bubbled up in my mind while driving belong to me forever. Nonetheless, I will miss Connie, the name Miss Laura gave to this silver bird when she assumed the wheel as a novice driver at age 16.

Bye Bye Connie Contour. Thanks for the ride.

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