My car has all of the great qualities that I look for in a good friend. It’s reliable, comfortable, in it for the long haul, knows all of my secrets, lets me sing out loud, a little flashy with the red color, and hasn’t ever let me down. It’s safe to say that I’m wildly attached to my 1999 Chevy Prizm and I write this with the knowledge that in the very near future she shall no longer be mine.
To be completely honest I can’t even think about this without tearing up. Seriously, you can even ask my husband. Every time he brings it up I have to stop talking about it because I don’t want to cry. I know, I know, it’s silly to be overly sentimental about an object..but to me it’s not just any old object. It’s been through it’s fair share.
I can’t take credit for this picture I’m about to post but I wanted to show you all what my car looked like when she was at her prime:
I know. She’s a beaut. Just look at her.
Here she is present day:
Not the best picture from my garage, but you get the idea. She’s a little banged up, has a crack in the windshield, still has my commuter sticker from college, missing a hubcap, and is much older…but she still runs like a champ and gets some pretty amazing gas mileage to boot.
As with any relationship we’ve had our share of ups and downs together.
“Your passenger side door still doesn’t open, right?” my littlest brother Adam asked as we left the house and headed toward my car. I was picking him up from my parents to spend some time at my house.
“No…” I sighed not wanting to remember that fact. The door hadn’t opened for just shy of a year. When my husband and I would drive anywhere one of us would have to sit in the back seat like we were in a taxi car. At least it still ran.
“Okay, good!!!” he said as he quickened his pace.
I was puzzled. How could sitting in the back be a good thing for him? We got to the car and he said, “Anna. Get in the car and roll the passenger window down…I’ve always wanted to do this!”
“Do what?” I asked still not understanding where this was going.
“Jump into a car through the window like how they do on tv!” he replied.
I raised my left eyebrow before getting in the drivers side and had to lean across the car and stretch out my arm to crank my non-automatic window down.
Once it it was down I sat back up and started the car. I looked over as Adam put his hand on the door frame of the car and started to lift his left foot. He then paused. He put his foot down, changed his approach a little and went head first through my window. Over a minute later, once he had flipped himself right side up and got situated, he calmly turned to me and said, “That was not as cool as I thought it was going to be.”
“Yeah…Nope….” I said as I dug through my piles and piles of CD’s to find the one that contained mine and Adam’s favorite car song. I slid the scratched CD in the player after rubbing the back off on my pants to smooth it out as Adam slowly rolled his window down. He then propped his right hand up on door and halfway out the window. We left the house with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer” blasting and all the cares in the world were forgotten.
I suppose one of the reasons I love my car so much is that it’s the only place in the world where I really feel like I can just go anywhere. There is endless possibility. I always felt like no matter how bad I felt or how lost I felt I could find what it was I was looking for if I just drove far enough in my little red car.
In High School my best friend Kim and I used to drive around town after we got our license just to talk and have time to ourselves. Well, Kim drove and I was the passenger. (In case I haven’t mentioned this before I am the worst person in the ENTIRE world at directions.) When we drove around in High School it was before GPS so Kim would pay attention to all of the roads while we both chattered on about classes and all the things that come with being a teenager. We laughed a lot during that time. We also cried a lot. We listened to the song “Hold On” by Wilson Philips more than I should admit. We got vanilla ice cream in the summer and listened to Delilah’s soothing voice on radio at night. Neither of us owned our own car at the time so we drove around her mom’s. Looking back we used to love driving around because it was our own little sanctuary. Our own time to spend and in a place separate from our parent’s house or from school or anywhere else. It was our freedom. It was our second home.
Shortly after High School I went to college and eventually needed to purchase my first ever car. What car did I get? You guessed it. Our little therapy session on wheels = Kim’s Mom’s Car. My 1999 Chevy Prizm.
I still can remember the first time I sat in that car alone and as the owner of it. I closed the door, took a deep breath, and slid my hands along the grey steering wheel. I adjusted the vents and made sure that the orange tropical island air freshener Kim had got me for a gift was in place. I looked down at the new floor mats and made sure they were lined up perfectly before I stuck the key in the ignition and started it up. A feeling of pure joy ran through my body as I danced around for a minute so excited knowing that this was mine. It was the best thing I had ever owned and I honestly was elated.
My last year of college I commuted, which was about a 90 minute drive each way. Days that there was a huge gap between my classes I would drive over to a beach area near Lake Michigan and park. Sometimes I would recline my seat and take a nap, sometimes I would read or do homework, but most of the time I would put a current favorite CD in and stare out at the glistening lake. My car was my safe zone and it truly became my second home all over again in those days.
As the years went by and I started to put many more miles on the car and along with that many more scrapes and dents and problems.
The air didn’t work on the car so there was many a day where I would show up to work half drenched in sweat. The first and last time I took my friend in the car to see a favorite musician of mine with no air, and in the middle of summer, we ended up having to pull over at a gas station before the venue to brush the bird’s nest out of my hair from having the windows wide open trying to cool off.
On the way to a job interview after college a huge semi sent a little rock flying at my windshield leading to a crack that extends almost all of the way from one end to the other.
When we drove it to Ohio for a concert one of my hubcaps flew off in a frenzy on the highway. During the trip Kim and I were at each other because we couldn’t agree on the temperature of the car until we realized that the passengers side didn’t work as well. For our St. Louis trip after that we made this sign as a reminder. If you flipped the sign it said, “Remember it’s not Kim…or you…It’s the car!”
The last time I cleaned my car I found a scavenger hunt list from another friend’s amazing Bachlorette party, a 5-hour energy from one of the concert nights in Milwaukee, and half empty water bottles from the little hikes that Dan and I went on. That car has seen more states than most, was driven by 2 of my favorite musicians, was where I went to catch my breathe when work got stressful, was the location of many a first listen of life-changing songs, was how I drove home my new little kitty Rocky, was where I went after the first big fight between Dan and I, and was also where we shared our first ever kiss. It’s been through it all with me.
Why do I have to get rid of it you ask? Here’s the current mileage on this baby. I’m literally running her into the ground.
Like I said before, I know it’s sounds silly to be so sentimental about an object, but for me it seems like it’s justified. I love this car and my heart will break when I see it pull away from me. Until that day I thought it fitting to write this little tribute to the best car in the entire world.
I’ll miss you and never forget you.