A Love Unnamed

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I’ve begun flying on business fairly regularly in the last several years, and aside from the “perks” of being away from home and collecting points to spend more time away from home, it’s been interesting to drive other cars.  National Car Rental, if you join their club, let’s you choose from any car on the member aisle – or Executive aisle if you rent frequently enough.

Hyundai Sonata, with a mid-level trim, nice.  Kia Sorento, just feels cheap.  VW Passat – kind of sporty with a unique and not unpleasant odor.  Toyota Rav 4 – kind of stiff.  Jeep Patriot – a shell of a SUV.  Ford Fusion – acceptable, but the same as our company car fleet.  Ford Edge – surprisingly nice.   Nissan Rogue – an okay version of its larger brother, the Murano.  And so it goes.  Temporary rides for temporary needs.  So, I return to the airport parking lot, get within sight of my car, and think, far more often than not, “Hello, baby.”  It’s good to be home, or, if not quite that, to my home car. 

It’s a 2006 Nissan Murano.  It has fit me like a glove for over 11 years and 182,000 miles.  Eleven years is a long time in a corporate life.  There are numerous coworkers who know me by my car and no other.  Elegant in its simplicity, the SUV moniker was originally advertised as a Smooth Utility Vehicle.  And it was, with it’s then fairly novel continuously variable transmission.  Substantial in feel, nimble enough, a great ride, a worthy ride (zipping by a Land Rover spinning its wheels in one of Atlanta’s deadlocking ice storms, for example), and a surprisingly good sound system (as proven by comparison to the many rental cars).  Mediocre gas mileage, so there’s that.

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My mom once named her 1970 blue Dodge Dart Swinger, “Betsy.”  I hated Betsy.  It lacked air-conditioned (or A/C and gas shortages = no A/C), the blue faded quickly over time, and it became over time an artifact from a prior civilization, at least in kid years.  I’ve resisted naming any of my, let’s see, two vehicles that I’ve owned, due to my distaste for Betsy (and refused blue cars for the same reason).  There was my short-term college car, a 1980 Pontiac Sunbird, which was a (censored) excuse for a car,  and the Murano.  In between were at least 8 company cars that don’t count. 

So, “Hello, baby.”   That’s not really a name, but after driving rental cars, the stitched leather steering wheel provided a tactile enjoyment to driving that every company car or rental lacked.  Plastic steering wheels just don’t cut it.   My car was a home away from home, a personal space, a theater for probably a thousand CD hearings.  Or more.  I’m speaking in past tense.  It’s sad, I know.

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Despite an ambitious goal for two more years of faithful service, the car’s moans and groans, or more specifically, its leaks and transmission roar, summed to triple the remaining cash value of “Hello, baby’s” remaining cash value to repair, with no certain guarantee in life expectancy.  Suddenly, I’m the solo member of an health insurer death panel.  Live or let die.  Well, living doesn’t come cheap, so…

Where to do that, exactly?  Well, the place it entered my life, of course, the same place that pronounced its pending medical bill had I opted in.  So, if you’re the unfortunate soul who buys it next, long may she run.  But she won’t.  (But, in the meantime, don’t tell her I’m cheating on her, or about the new 11 speaker Bose sound system that makes parting, shall I say, so much easier?)

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1 comment :

  1. Still gonna have to memorize your new ride so that you don't sneak up on me. ;-)

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