In late February of 2004, we met for the first time. She had under 10,000 miles on her and was a demo car, maintained by the dealer. I fell in love. She moved in with me that March. By April she had her first accident.
I finally got my insurance check today - more than a month after my accident. It was exciting. Getting a check for two grand is always nice. But it brought up the fact that I miss my car. Not for it's ability to get me from point A to point B (public transportation and my bike are serving that need), but for the memories attached to it.
Then again, buying that car was probably the biggest mistake of my life and I DO NOT miss the payments and other costs associated with vehicle ownership. You see, I bought the car when I was young, already had debt from my previous vehicle, and while I had a good paying job, $350 a month kinda strains you financially. I just wanted something nice and new to call my own. In retrospect, it was a total status symbol thing. I was so naive.
So, over five years, thousands in repair costs, a new transmission, and 120,000 miles later... the wreck came as a blessing. But, here are a few things that car and I went through together...
Approximately 7 speeding tickets, countless other violations, and of course, my DUI.
So many road trips: the Dells, Tomah, WI (post-prom 2005), Milwaukee at least three times, Indiana Beach, Iowa, Indianapolis, and I had to have logged a good 5-10K on trips to and from Champaign.
She probably STILL smells like Pizza from all of the deliveries we made together.
A drive down 355 on the coldest day of the year to replace her back windshield.
She doubled as my bed on more than one occasion.
She was the stereo at many softball games, and even the lights for a night game or two.
I don't cry often, but she is one of the few who have witnessed my tears.
Likewise, she was always willing to let me scream at the top of my lungs at times of anger and frustration.
She also let me play the music as loud as I wanted (thanks to her eight speaker Bose system).
I ate the majority of my meals in the driver seat for a period of about three years.
Her trunk was also a dining table when it came to tailgaiting at Miller Park, Alpine Valley and elsewhere.
She transported a handful of pets, from the late Macey and that crazy cat Bowser, to chinchillas, Portia the snake, and of course Syrus and Dexter.
With all of her cargo space, I packed my entire life in her and moved down to Champaign.
She was the carriage for m'lady and I, as well as a place to "have fun."
I used her as an excuse time and time again to call into work... if only my bosses new how reliable she was (I would have been fired at least three times).
She once "hit a coyote." (right..)
I didn't bathe her as often as I should have, but she was treated to timely oil changes and tire rotations.
While stale frys and empty coke bottles often littered her interior, she was never puked, pissed or crapped in or on.
I remember when we hit 100,000 miles... like it was yesterday.
And then on that fateful day of May 14th, I watched her get towed away, for the last time.
Perhaps what I'll miss most about my 2003 Volkswagen Golf is the freedom she gave me. Whether it was driving around Naperville, simply to smoke and listen to music, or get away from everything and everyone, for a 2 or 3 hour drive, she was always there.
I know it seems kinda corny to get all sentimental about a car, but May 14 is not just the day I totalled my car; it marked the end of an era. It was a sign from the universe; a sign of closure, marking both a beginning and and end to a chapter in my life- which, is why I decided to reflect on my car for this second installment of "Life & Times."
First of all, when I am old and gray, and don't remember anything, hopefully I will be able to come back to this blog entry and recall all of the memories of my youth, good and bad, based simply on a statement about roadtrips to the Dells, tailgaiting at Miller Park, and calling in to work.
My friends, this is just the jumping board for what is to come in this series. Bringing up all of those memories, and talk of "moving from one chapter to the next" has only brought up more to write about.
So for that, and so much more, I thank you Golf. I wish we could have had more time together, but while I loved you for the freedom you gave me, you don't even know how much more freedom you have given me in your passing. Rest in peace. (Actually, probably pieces.)