The End of an Era

Wednesday I said good bye to an old friend, my dear Blackie. After ten solid years together, one speeding ticket, two accidents and run-ins with various structures and garbage receptacles, it was time. 

I first met her in 2003, she a spry young four year old and myself a tender sixteen. She taught me to drive stick, accompanied me to high school and college, countless ballet rehearsals, concerts and even camped by my side at Bonnaroo. She witnessed first dates and break ups, road trips and aimless late night drives. She was there for me at high school graduation, college graduation and even made the move with me to North Carolina. 

Sept. 2003- headed to my first day of 11th grade
She was keyed (I was very much disliked in high school), scraped, scratched, side swiped, deer dented- a piece of her was even pop riveted back on (in the most redneck way). She proudly bore the battle scars of our time together, all the while managing to hold on to her good looks. Under all that shiny black paint, though, she was fighting a losing battle with a fast spreading cancer of rust and corrosion. 

As a Florida resident in her early years, she found life with me in New York, particularly the winters, difficult. The harsh road salt, the bitter cold, and all the potholes: she just wasn't cut out to cope with winter and all its challenges. And so, despite her return to the easy life in the South, it was too late and her cancer continued to spread. Soon she began to leave a trail of rust wherever she went, her flaking underbelly, and eventually larger pieces, important pieces, flying off as she sped to a fro. 
It became clear that her days were numbered and our time spent together was becoming dangerous.

April 2013- headed to the scrap yard
   On Wednesday, I took her on one last drive; our destination: a scrap yard. I pulled her on to a scale, removed her license plates, and just walked away. 

    Never did I think that saying good bye to a car, of all things, would be so difficult. There were times, in the past, that I dreamed of her demise, wished that she would just die so I could move on and get something shiny and new. I suppose my desire was symbolic of my own dissatisfaction with the turbulent past that was associated with her, and my life in general. 
    I suppose my heartbreak over saying good-bye is rather symbolic as well. For ten years, Blackie was my freedom, my independence, my ticket to where ever I wanted to go. And, being my first car, she was my youth. Now, leaving her behind, I realize that whatever comes next will be the car that represents the next ten, or more, years of my life. It will be the car that accompanies me into marriage and into my 30s; it will be the car that carries my children- and all of that's a bit frightening! 

She retired still running and with dignity. Now, as she sits with the hundreds of others like her, stripped of her catalytic convertor, her wheels, and anything else of value, I hope that her parts go on to keep someone else's first car, their youthful ticket to freedom, running just a little bit longer.


Happy Sailing

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