My beloved Silver Chariot of Twang (SCOT) has passed on. I assume he'll be parted out, or hopefully, auctioned to someone who might actually fix him and drive him again. I don't really want to think about the first scenario. This car was my boyfriend. This car was the longest relationship I've ever been in. This car... well, 5 years!
Five YEARS of hunting for gas stations that sold diesel, sometimes in the middle of the night in a strange city, which is unnerving. Once I lost him, having parked in Chinatown for a show at the Bowery, and I had to take a taxi in order to find him, after two hours of walking the streets after midnight, alone. Yes, I know. It was stupid. Trust me, that won't happen again. I have a smartphone now, it would have been helpful back then. He came to me with about 141,000 miles. He left me with nearly 255,000.
We'd been to Iowa together twice, Illinois once, countless trips up to Northampton. A few to the family camp in Vermont. Camping at festivals in Massachusetts and Virginia, and far upstate in New York. I have slept comfortably for a few hours in his seats at truck stops across the stretches of 90, 80, and 70.
When I was house-hunting, I would spend every Sunday afternoon driving the area, looking for possibilities, and getting lost down dead-end dirt roads. There were no flat tires (there should have been a few), and I felt sane, relaxed, and hopeful on those drives, in what was otherwise a very stressful time.
In this car, I wore out two burned copies of Joe Pug's live album. Gordon Lightfoot's "Gord's Gold" on cassette got a lot of heavy play this summer. I assume the ghost of Garrison Keillor's voice is still bouncing around somewhere in the trunk (we listened to a lot of Prairie Home Companion).
We did a fair bit of yard-saling and thrift-shopping. I've often said, if you wanted to lure me to my death, the best way would be little signs that said "tag sale this way", down those same dirt roads. The fact that he was a wagon (fold the back seats down and you can fit two arm-chairs in, if you're good with spatial stuff) enabled me to collect more arm-chairs than any one person should own. We tailgated a bit, too, that same sizable trunk proving a great place to have an early spring picnic when it was too cold to sit on the ground. Portable Frodo, a little needle-felted wool dude, was hot-glued to the dashboard, chilling in a cape, pipe in one hand and ring in the other.
This car hit two deer (one in Connecticut, one in Maryland, each time with nothing worse to show than a bent license plate frame), a baby rabbit (this was very sad), and assorted other small animals I didn't care about (sorry. I live in the woods). He also hit a large log in tall grass, which was indisputably my fault. And there was the parking ticket in Manhattan, but that was my fault too.
Amazingly, considering the clip at which I sail, I was only pulled over in this vehicle once. I got tailed a lot, but I assume that has to do with the hippie bumper stickers. Oh man. When I get a new car, I have to start all over with new stickers. Auuuuuuugh. It'll be fine. It WILL be fine. I'm currently in week two of searching for a new vehicle, driving a 2015 Chevy Malibu as a rental car, biting my nails waiting for the insurance check to arrive. I've been to test-drive one replacement vehicle (there were so many things wrong I didn't even make an offer) and made appointments to look at two others (one sold before we met, the other was mysteriously not on the lot when I got there). I'm trying not to panic. It's a bizarre, out-of-sorts feeling to not be in your own car.
Scot, I'm sorry that your floor mats were 25% coffee and probably 10% tears. I've done a lot of spilling. Thanks for never leaving me stranded despite the fact that I drove all over creation in places with no cellphone service. It was a hell of a ride.
To the new owner: sorry about/enjoy the bumper stickers.