Farewell to a Friend

Saying goodbye has never been an easy thing.

I would assume that statement is true for most people, but for some reason it manages to be particularly challenging for me.

I think said difficutly comes from two different personality traits.

The first is that I’m very shy and saying goodbye (with the risk of it being super awkward) scares me almost as much as meeting someone for the first time.  Very rational…I know.

The second trait is that I become very attached to things.  I’m hoping this doesn’t eventually result in an episode of hoarders, but I’m not counting it out.

I guess I shouldn’t say all things.  I should say sentimental things.

I’ll take it one step futher and say not even seemingly obvious sentimental things.  I mean things that I attach sentimentality to.  Things that are uniquely sentimental to me and are that way because of experiences/feeling/thoughts I have about them.

These things have quite a range.

Some of them ‘normal’ like concert ticket stubs, love letters, cards, etc.

Some of them not so normal.

Like a hershey nugget candy wrapper from opening night of my highschool play Annie.  My best friend at the time Jess Burke and I split one before the show (our favorite candy) and even looking at it reminds me of how I felt in those ten minutes before the curtain went up.  Thrilled, proud, naseous, etc.  I can’t throw it away.  It’s not about the wrapper, it’s about the feeling that I can still get back from looking at it.  It’s magical.

Or how about the tag from a pair of Steve Madden shoes I bought in higschool.  I found them at The Buckle in West Acres mall in Fargo, North Dakota, couldn’t afford them as a 16 year old ($80) so I put them on layaway and paid them off until I could take them home.  They were grey wool platform pennyloafers and they were beautiful (hideous).   When I look at that tag, I remember how I TRULY felt they were going to make me more popular, I remember the first day I wore them to school, and I remember the day I sold them to Plato’s Closet because I realized how hideous they were.

Those are small things.  There are many more examples but in order to keep up an illusion of sanity I’m not going to talk about all of them.

Well.

A few days ago I had to say goodbye to something I was incredibly attached to.  Something that I had used almost every single day for over 7 years.  Something that gave me comfort, gave me escape, gave me safety, gave me adventures, gave me a place to be alone, gave me music, gave me sunshine and freedom and air and wind in my hair.

Last Friday, I said goodbye to Sexy Lexy, my trusted and very much loved car of over 7 years.  It was bizarrely difficult.

As I’m writing this in my neighborhood coffee shop I am tearing up just thinking about it.  Rational…I know.

Let me give you a little history.

When I was a junior in college, my dad gifted his Lexus ES 300 to me.  At this point the car was only 7-8 years old and was down right luxurious to me and all my friends.  I had a cool car.  She had heated leather seats, a six disc cd player, a huge trunk, and an amazing sound system.  A boy I liked dubbed her Sexy Lexy.  That was in 2005.

Cut to 2012 and my my how things had changed.

My old girl had ripped leather seats, a six disc cd player that skipped, a dirty trunk and a struggling sound system.  Buttons that no longer worked, leaking tires, leaking oil, a bum headlight, several dents, and a windshield so pitted I could hardly see when driving in the sun.  She clicked, she whined, and when I drove up hills she sounded like an 80 year old lifelong smoker.

She no longer gave me freedom because I was afraid to drive more than 5 miles from my house (she had started to overheat).

She no longer kept me safe because I was afraid at any moment she might blow up, lose a wheel, or just stop in the middle of 75mph I-25 traffic.

She no longer gave me air simply because the air conditioner didn’t work.

The last year and a half I had anxiety every single day over this car.

Will it start?  Can I get to work?  Where is Jon today in case I have to call him to come pick me up when she stalls?  No sorry, I can’t drive to Boulder.  Am I going to hit traffic in 100 degrees with no air?  Can you drive us to dinner?  Yes – it is my car leaking oil.

Didn’t matter.  I still loved her.

She still gave me escape.  She still gave me the wind in my hair.  She made me feel like me.  She tied me to where I came from and brought me to where I was.  She was my car.

In the end she had 280,000 (THOUSAND!) miles on her and I had a big sense of pride about that number.  I’m sure most of those were put on by my dad before I inherited her, but that still leaves she and I with a lot of miles together.

Some of those miles were put on when I was in College.   Fed up with dorm life I would jump in and drive to Ada, feeling a sense of safety and relief when I pulled in the driveway.

I put on a lot driving from wherever I was in the world to Pelican lake to see a boy.  He was from Bloomington and we would sit in Lexy, listen to the first song we loved together (and the song we danced to at our wedding) and talk about everything that seemed to matter more than everything else.

Several inappropriate miles were put on driving around with Gabe and Greg Haney late at night on the country roads, shooting fireworks out the window, drinking a road soda on the gravel roads while wondering ‘does it ever get better than this‘?

A TON were put on driving to Denver with a huge smile on my face.

A TON were put on driving right back home with tears in my eyes.

Mostly they were put on going from here to there, just ordinary life on an ordinary day.

Regardless of when they happened, I was proud of those miles.

But proud as I may be, I desperately needed a new car.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce you to Pearl.

Isn’t she beautiful?

She’s EASILY the nicest and most spectacular thing I’ve ever owned.  This car came into my possession with less than 10 miles on the odometer.  Yes, from almost 300,000 miles to 10.  It’s like something out of the movies.

The differences between these cars shouldn’t even be talked about.  My new car talks to me, knows my voice, seat preferences, music volume preference, seat heat preference, where I’m going, who I want to talk to, and the color of my husbands eyes.

I tried to park Pearl on the street and keep Sexy Lexy safe and sound in the garage.  Jon said I was insane.  That’s when the feelings of abandonement and guilt started to set in.  That first night when I parked my trusted old friend out on the cold dark street and left her there.  For days.  While I frolicked around like a teenager in my newer model.

I was supposed to try and sell her.  I couldn’t.  I was supposed to donate her. I couldn’t.  I had the Food Bank of the Rockies lined up to come pick her up for donation several weeks ago and called the night before to cancel because I just could not do it.

I wasn’t ready.

Well last Friday I could stall no longer.  The call was made, the title was signed, the appointment was set.  I went out the Thursday night before to empty all personal items, remove the liscence plates, and say goodbye.

I spent over thirty minutes sitting in and around that stupid car.  I would have turned her on and listened to a sentimental song or two, but as of two days prior, she wouldn’t start anymore.  She had given up.  : (

I opened the creaking door one last time and sat in the torn up drivers seat.  It’s crazy how much sliding into that seat felt so comfortable and normal.  Like being home.  Albeit a dirty and broke down home, but still.

I said goodbye.

I actually swept my hand across the back of her as I walked away and choked back tears (as I am RIGHT NOW).  So rational…I know.

I woke up Friday morning and the first thing I did was run to our front window to see if she was still there.  She wasn’t.  Food Bank of the Rockies had come and towed her away “to garner money to feed hungry people” Jon told me after I called him very distraught.

I would have held on to her if I could have, stuck her in a box next to that candy wrapper.

I guess it was so hard because I have a lot of my most important memories in that car.  Another part of it is that car used to suit me, or at least the old college student me.  It suited the girl that packed her car to the brim to drive off to Denver all by herself for a new adventure.  I like to think I’m still that girl, but I also have to admit that ‘times they are a changing’ and a 27 year old woman maybe doesn’t belong in a car that can hardly get her from point A to point B.  It was tough saying goodbye to that part of my life, admitting that it’s really over, and that I’m really 27 years old.

Slowly, each time I jump in my new car, it starts to feel less like a really nice rental car and more like mine.  I’ve driven it to the mountains twice in the last week, something I could never have done in my old car.  It really has been a life changer.  I get excited when I think about where this car will take me, what it will haul around (kids…yikes!), and the tons of new memories I’ll have.  I feel like an bona fide adult.   Maybe it’s silly for a car to make you feel that way, but it does.  It feels grown up, feels responsible, and full of possibilities.

It’s pretty great.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to put Sexy Lexy in a shoe box, but I did keep one of her old license plates.  Sometime down the road, probably while cleaning and when I’ve forgotten it’s there, I’ll find it.  I hope it will have that magical quality that puts me right back in the drivers seat, wind in my hair, and reminds me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.

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7 thoughts on “Farewell to a Friend

  1. Julie

    Wow, Ali! I think this one and your entry about Livi are the best ones yet. I think it’s because…they are full of emotion and sincerity and have the right mix of humor and truth and poignance. Love it–keep it up!

    Reply
  2. Packer

    This was great. You continue to surprise me with your posts. Not because I don’t think you are capable of writing or telling a good story but more so because I never really know what to expect, and more often than not, you connect with me – unexpectedly. There is something captivating and inspiring in your words that makes me want to read on, and on, and on. Piggybacking on Julie’s comment, keep em’ coming. Or, perhaps, a book? So rational… I know.

    Reply
    1. Ali Post author

      Good grief you two! Thank you thank you thank you. Not only for reading but for your amazing comments. I truly can not tell you how much I appreciate your words of encouragement.

      Reply
  3. Mom

    awww…. good bye Sexy Lexy. She was indeed a great car and friend. Dad still pines for her. Great tribute for a hunk of metal!

    Reply
  4. Kathy

    More and more Ali I feel you need to hang out with my niece Sarah (Andrew’s sister). I can’t wait to show her this post. It sounds like her talking about her car…Lloyd. He cannot go long distances either. She moved to Denver a year ago…and loves it. Anyway, I GET the sentimental thing. I was tearing up just reading your story…how sentimental is that?! : )

    Reply
    1. Ali Post author

      Thanks Kathy – Let her know any time she wants to grab a glass of wine or dinner I’m game!

      Reply

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