Melancholy. That’s the word I was searching for as I watched my car back out of the driveway. I stood at the window; coffee in hand…still clad in my pajamas. It was the type of melancholy one might experience watching their firstborn go off to kindergarten. The 2003 Toyota Corolla backed out the driveway and out of my life and into a new life.
I had sold it to my daughter Catherine when her car became cost prohibitive to fix. Her Chevrolet Prizm was actually made at the same factory as my Toyota Corolla. At some point on the assembly line they parted ways and met on Camrose Road. Her Prizm has been a money pit while my Corolla asks very little. It’s funny; different brothers from the same mother.
That 2003 Toyota Corolla and I had history. We had driven miles upon miles; mostly alone, a lot with Cookie and some with our friends.
We had gone to teach at three different schools in two different counties.
We had crisscrossed the State of Virginia from Grayson Highland Park to Chincoteague Island in search geocaches, nature and God.
That little silver Corolla had taken us to Lynn’s chemotherapy appointments, my cancer appointments, to weddings and to high school and college graduations.
We sang in it, ate in it and sought refuge from the elements when it got too cold or hot or whatever. I had laughed, cried and slept in that car and it never asked that much of me. A drink of gas now and then and the occasional oil change and it was ready to go.
It may have been the best $12,000 dollars a guy could spend on a car. It required little maintenance and was always there for me. It had the old-school crank windows and door manual door locks. My friends always looked at me like I asked for a kidney when I requested that they lock the door. I didn’t care. I loved not having a car payment.
I often wonder how many hours I have sat in that car in traffic and in drive thru’s thinking about life or just being. A type of mini-meditation retreat rolling on 15’s.
We’re both a little worse for the wear; the Corolla and me. We’ve got some dings and dents and maybe aren’t as bright and shiny as we once were. But we’re soulmates. We’re honest as a game of checkers and love the simplicity of it all.
My flaws as a human being are many but being materialistic isn’t one of them. I’ve got an iPhone that’s at least 4 years old and have lived in the same humble home for 30 years. Getting a new car was not on my radar. It was, however, time. Catherine needed a good, dependable car at a low price point and my car fit the bill. So last night, after getting some advice from my friend Don and my nephew Phillip (who works at CarMax) we headed over to CarMax to shop for a car. I have to admit my heart was not in it but for the sake of my marriage we had to get a new car.
This morning I watched 13 years of my life back out of the driveway and go down the street. I took a sip from my coffee cup in a silent toast of thanks for the 160,000 miles of service it gave me. Here’s to new beginnings and a shared life.