There have been a lot of tears this week. There were a few more today as I said a fond and final goodbye to an old and much loved friend…my car.
Now, you can laugh, you can call me as daft as you like, but she has, indeed, been a good friend. I have written of her before. Coming, as it did, after other, deeper hurt, it was perhaps the final straw. She has shared tears and triumphs, laughter, hope and despair. Through it all, her intimate interior has held me close. She has listened to me sing with infinite patience, responded to my touch and made me smile every single day. She has done things she was never designed to do, given birth to an entire garden from her tiny confines, transported wheelchairs, paintings and furniture. For a sports car she was exceptionally willing to work.
And that she was given with love made her doubly precious. Such gifts always are and carve a special niche in the heart. It is almost like a loving embrace from the giver every time your thoughts turn that way.
Even her demise was, in many ways, achieved with considerate grace. Not at speed on a motorway or in the middle of a roundabout in rush hour, no. Simply a final, vivid display of multiple warning lights in a car park that told me to turn off the ignition and step out of the car. I have seen this before and a little research confirmed my fears. A further turn of the key produced a loud crunching noise from the region of the alternator. She was no longer viable. She had made the decision for me, almost, it seemed, as a final act of kindness knowing I was so reluctant to let her go.
It had been on the cards for some time, but loving her as I have, I had put off the inevitable. We had a lot in common, you see. The once sleek exterior was past its best, the insides a little worn and shabby. Her original horsepower had faded, the horses long overdue retirement. She leaked, rattled, and occasionally bits dropped off. Even so…she was mine and in many ways she was my reflection…the one I wanted to see. Joyous.
But, being away from home when she lit up like a Christmas tree, my choices were minimal. She had to go. I needed to be able to get home.
Another car was found, younger, roomier, more practical. Pretty, too.. though the admission was grudging with the image of my old girl firmly in mind. The guy took the old lady as well, and I have a feeling he may restore her in a way I could not, or use her salvaged parts to help keep other elderly ladies of her calibre alive for their adoring owners. I hope so. Still…. It was an idiot with tears streaming that finally drove away.
And Eric Clapton in the stereo was a big mistake.
There is a stubborn streak in us that resists change. Part of it, I think, is the fear of change itself, part the fear of disappointment in the new. Much is simply clinging to the comfort of the familiar and loved… and I should know better. I do know better. You can only love, truly love, without holding. You can cherish while it is there, but always have to be ready to set love free. I think then it can fly on its own wings, perhaps a gift to life itself. In that freedom many loves choose to stay and then we are doubly blessed. Some do not, some cannot, but loving freely, without holding or requiring, the love itself remains with us and is never lost. It is the gift of loving that matters.
So, in my resistance, I blew my nose and headed homewards in the newly collected car.
Traffic was really very heavy. It was a while before I noticed I wasn’t aching as I usually do when crawling along on the clutch for an hour or two. The car smelled funny. It took ages before I realised that was because it didn’t smell of hot oil. It felt rather dark without the glass roof… but funnily enough, although the rain was heaving down outside, it wasn’t dripping on me inside. Which was, I admitted, novel. As were the windscreen wipers that actually cleared the screen, the stereo that played without skipping and the fact I wasn’t steaming up from the amount of water seeping in…
Sitting in the traffic jam I noticed odd, unheard of things .. like a button that promises aircon. A rear wiper… heated screens…. A USB port… In a car? Hmmm… had the world moved while I was not looking?
There was, however, no tiger-like roar as I heaved the car into fifth. Except there was no heaving. Just a competent, rather elegant purr as she pounced on the road with feline grace. And an expletive or two as I remembered the basic principles of power steering… it is a long time since I’d driven a car that didn’t have to be hoisted round corners at low speeds and that first roundabout took me by surprise.
The fact I couldn’t feel every bump was disconcerting. Evidently suspension, too, has made progress in the decade or so between the two cars’ inception. Then I felt I was going deaf, as I couldn’t hear the road noise, creaks and rattles… you could probably hold a conversation in the thing and actually hear each other!
Then the road cleared and I found a major difference, I had no warning of speed. My little old lady shook like a jelly when you approached the speed limit. This thing just keeps gliding forward without batting an eyelash. I reined the eager fillies under the bonnet back a little. We had to stop soon after… but she leapt away again so speedily even I was impressed.
So perhaps change has its benefits?
I shall not forget my old girl and the fun we shared, over the best part of a 100.000 miles…nor will this younger, fitter model oust her from her place in my affections. But perhaps it can carve its own place there… a new place?
Yes, I have a feeling the pussy cat and I are going to become very good friends 🙂
Don, our wide eyed adventurer from the Field-of-Sheaves along with Wen, his Wild-Haired accomplice, has been lured into the somewhat murky depths of religious symbolism and iconography.
Neither of them really knows what they are doing there, nor how to get out!
The hawks appear to know more than they do and the ravens too, as well as the sparrows.
The trouble is, they are all talking a different language, and it is not bird-song!
But where does the allegedly evil Count Dashwood fit in and will Anu, the human-eyed dog ever stop barking at hot-air balloons?
Only time and another jaunt in a realm not too far away from your world will tell…
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I remember this post and thought I’ve been there myself. You get very attached to your old cars! They become persons in their own right.
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In the books they become ‘characters’… 😉
I certainly know about that. The main character in my mystery series has an old Jeep she calls Miss Daisy. With the fifth book just out, she finally gives in and gets a new Jeep!
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It’s a common trope, but still useful… 😉