I have never been a gearhead. I’ve enjoyed cars and certainly have my preferences for vehicles but I appear to have been born without the car gene. The love affair the Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen have for fast cars is totally lost on me.
My first car was a 1970 orange Dodge Challenger that I promptly totaled on a rain slick road in Pennsylvania, heading to school after Thanksgiving break. After that I’ve had a series of cars that I’ve tolerated or liked, often sharing the purchase decisions with Deb based on whatever the family needed at the moment. As a result, the last two decades or so has seen me drive minivans. First there was the Chevy Lumina, which always reminded me of the Enterprise’s shuttlecraft. After it was stolen, we waited a while and finally replaced it with a Honda Odyssey.
Normally, every five years we’d buy a new car, saving for at least half the cost and financing the rest. This meant each of us would have a new car to drive and enjoy every decade or so. (Although in Deb’s case, she had a run of new vehicles as she totaled one car and replaced it with another in short order.)
As we prepared to move to Maryland, talk of replacing the Odyssey was postponed as the timing was not right and the car was holding on remarkably well with relatively low mileage. Over the summer I landed my teaching job and began commuting 350 miles or so a week and the Odyssey’s 20-22 MPG was beginning to pose some interesting costs – notably gasoline but also increased wear and tear.
In the fall we decided the time had come to replace it and after a month of searching and test driving, we settled on somewhat downsizing. I’ve been dreaming of a sedan for a change but Deb made a convincing case that we still needed a vehicle with storage room so agreed to consider the crossover model. We settled on the Honda CR-V, which has become the car of choice among my friends. I drove away from the dealer in late October and have really come to like the car.
As the holidays ended, it was time to sell the Odyssey and we placed an ad in the paper and as expected, we had a trickle of interest in an eleven year old vehicle. This past week we finally parted company after 92,750 miles and lots of very fond memories of family trips, intimate conversations, and other sights. Interestingly, I don’t feel much of anything about something I used daily for over a decade no longer being there. It did its job well and it was time for something new.
There’s just the smallest pang of loss and the odd sense that I have only one or two new cars that I will call my own in the future.