Yesterday was not my best day.
I donated the car I don’t drive anymore to charity.
Yesterday morning, they came and hauled it away.
The number 27 comes up twice here.
I had owned the vehicle they drove off for 27 years.
And now, for the first time since I was 27,
I do not own a car.
I remember when I bought my ‘92 dark green, two-door Lexus SC400. I had given my old car to Rachel – who required it for college – so I needed a new one. I had also signed the most lucrative contract of my career.
I decided to treat myself to a luxury vehicle. No Bentley, but “up there.”
I recall my hand shaking as I wrote out the check. And how upset I was when the salesman pressed me hard to buy snazzier hubcaps. (I almost called off the deal. Paying that much for the car and now he wants more? I mean, there’s extravagant and there’s stupid. The “standard” hubcaps looked fine.)
For a while, I did not use it that much. My new deal included a driver. (Though I suspected his salary had been deducted from my contract, my “Gift Driver” thereby “gifted” to me by me.)
I took great care of my Lexus. Regular tune-ups. Fixing the “dings.” Repainting the scratches. That car had more layers than a Da Vinci painting. (Look it up. He did layers.)
It was my car. And I insisted it look perfect. (Not for me. It drove better “pristine.”)
When I was crashed into at the dealership parking lot, though the company’s inducements on a “replacement” were generous – because they crashed into my car – I steadfastly said no.
It spent four months in the “hospital.”
When it was ready, I was waiting.
Then the DMV said, “Time for a test.”
And it was downhill from there.
Let me be clear here. I have never driven “for pleasure.” I don’t even know what that means. (I imagine the driving equivalent of Homer Simpson’s “Ooooh, donuts.”) But with a car especially that car – I had comfort, I had convenience, and most importantly,
I had freedom.
I came and went as I wanted.
Now, it’s Lyft.
My rides dependent on cell phones and strangers.
My legs felt anchored to the porch as I watched it it rolled onto a truck that held cars I knew my car was better than. Maybe all car donors feel that way. They’re wrong, but God bless ‘em.
I really thought I was ready. But when they drove it away,
27 years is a long time.
And now it’s no more.
“It’s a car, Earlo – a hunk of metal, with wheels. Get over it.”
But not right away.
In lieu of a picture, an accompanying song (with a nod to “Pinocchio”):
“I’ve got no wheels to drive around
To carry me all over town
I once had a lovely car
I got no wheels no mar.”
(Last word sung in a seafarer’s dialect.)