Column: Saying goodbye to an old friend — my car
We’ve been through the mountains of New Hampshire together and driven the scenic route on Cape Cod more than once.
We’ve been to concerts and baseball games, job interviews and construction sites, parties and funerals. Even a funeral or two that eventually turned into a party.
I’ve somehow carried Christmas trees in you, painted a new bumper for you after I hit a deer on Route 48, and delivered hundreds — possibly thousands — of pizzas in you during and after college.
You are my 2002 Honda Accord. And I have to let you go. Health issues have forced me to give you up.
If it were up to me, I would drive you into the ground and we would continue our expeditions for years to come. But I haven’t driven you in months and don’t plan on it anytime soon, so I hope to sell you to someone who you can continue to explore the world with. You deserve it.
On Sunday, I cleaned out the car I’ve had since 2005. It was oddly nostalgic coming across things I haven’t seen in years. There was the old golf scorecard that verifies I actually can shoot below 90. There was literally the first thing I purchased when I arrived on Long Island in 2009 — a book of maps. (Remember those?) There were ticket stubs that prompted flashbacks and fond memories of events I would have otherwise forgotten long ago. (And others I still remember — ahem, 2004 ALCS.) There was a flip phone, my enormous book of CDs and some photos that will never see the light of day again. There was even a cassette tape recording of a local radio station’s Top 20 songs of the week.
Yes, my car has a cassette player.
It also has a sunroof that my dog, Chauncey, would stick his head out of sometimes when I drove real fast. Because it’s a coupe, he’d struggle to get his head out of the passenger side window. He usually found a way, though.
The car is also a stick shift, which for some reason most people find less valuable. How do people not find these more fun to drive than an automatic? I’ll never understand.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a real pain to get in and out of when getting into the backseat — never mind putting an infant’s car seat back there. And it has rust on it in more than one spot and an electric car seat on the driver’s side that moves oddly slowly, as if time in 2016 moves so much faster than more than a decade ago.
Unfortunately, all of that nostalgia — the good and the bad — has turned into a kind of sadness as I put the car up for sale. My wife doesn’t get it. Her car is newer and she’ll be the first to say she doesn’t even really like it. Part of me wonders, however, if it’s so hard for me to say goodbye to the car because I’m really saying goodbye to a chapter in my life?
We went through college together, I brought the car to Boston with me during grad school and we’ve managed to make our way around Long Island without getting too lost at any point — thanks to our trusty Hagstrom map.
I never named my car — it was always just “my car.” Soon, it won’t be. The memories will still be mine, though.
The author is the editor of The Suffolk Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @cjpinch.