The mirror may be taped on while a variety of liquids leak out at various rates and the heat may be temperamental while the floor is coffee-stained, but still my heart aches at the thought of bidding goodbye to my faithful car of over 10 years.
My car’s name is Al and he is a 2001 Oldmobile Alero. I shared him for a short time with my sister before obtaining full driving privileges of the ruby red, 4-doored beauty I once got caught blowing a kiss to. Not everyone gets to drive the same car from 16 to 27 years old, and I consider it an honor and a privilege. From amping myself up for job interviews to mourning the loss of loved ones, the spectrum of emotions experienced in this car have been astronomical. As are the ways I have morphed into a semi-mature and relatively responsible adult since I first drove Al to school to take an exam in the 10th grade and left his lights on (which I didn’t know were automatic at the time).
I’ve come to know every quirk of his computer system and curve of his body. I regrettably scraped his left side on a parking deck pole rushing to meet the cable guy a few years back, and his right side on a toll booth during an insufficient funds on my EZpass debacle. But each unfortunate mark is a memory of our time together. I’ve spent more time in my car this year than I have with my parents. Sad, but true. Is it any wonder why I am dreading parting ways?
From the way the driver’s seat is tinted with years of my self tanner to the vintage manual windows, from the pockmarked exterior thanks a hailstorm in 2013 to the residual smell of someone else’s vomit from an unfortunate night out. I take the good and the bad when it comes to Al. After all, for 11 years he has been my safe haven in a scary, unpredictable world. He’s seen me elated and devastated, evade tickets from law enforcement as well as receive them, he’s been my bed and my changing room, a fabulous listener and a dependable ride. He’s always waiting for me right where I left him, because despite me telepathically asking Al to come pick me up, he has never had the ability to actually do so.
We both knew this day would come. So as I prepare myself to hand over the keys to the only car I’ve ever known, I hope my next set of wheels one days fits like the well-tailored glove Al has become and not like some misshapen mitten that doesn’t find me funny.