Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where Do They Go?

There's a really funny movie called Tin Men that starts in a car dealership. A customer is staring at a gleaming Cadillac, and the salesman says, "She sure is a beauty, isn't she?" The customer looks up and all around and says, "Who's a beauty?" The dealer replies, "Why, the car, of course." To which the customer replies, "Oh. I thought there was a chick in here somewhere." The customer goes on to muse about why people call cars "she."

Not all of my cars have been female. The first car I owned, inherited from my wonderful grandfather, was a male named Brownie. Brownie came to live with me in 1987 and was towed away with a bouquet of flowers on his front seat in 1998. Then we got Silver Flash, a Chrysler 300M. That one was entirely male ... macho, even. That was Mr. J's car.

In tandem with Flash, I owned an economy car, female, named Trusty. She was a 1994 Ford Escort. My daughter The Heir totaled her in 2008, but it was all body damage, so I drove her for another six months until the open windows let in too much cold air. Then I gave her to my school's auto tech shop.

Trusty was the best car I ever had. I loved her. All these years that I've been at the Vo Tech, I've always hugged her in the parking lot.

By and by, Silver Flash needed more and more maintenance, and the mechanic soaked us for plenty, and then the timing belt went and the car imploded. It sailed to a stop, never to move of its own volition again.

For a long time, Mr. J had Flash, and I had a little Dodge Neon (male) named Dusty. I won't say one bad word about the Dodge Neon. When I got him in 2008, he was three years old with 40,000 miles on him. I took him to 100,000 and then some, and he was still running (with some clunking and screechy noises) when we traded him in last week on a brand new Subaru. I kissed him goodbye at the Subaru dealership.

Today, as I was on hallway monitor duty, the auto tech students were using blow torches to chop up a car. The car was my own dear Trusty. The auto teacher warned me and even gave me a little metal ID card from somewhere in her interior.

The students were taking chunks of Trusty and putting her into a big dumpster for metal recycling. I stood there and cried.

Cars are mechanical objects, but don't they also have some kind of soul? I don't know. We do love our cars. At least I loved mine, Trusty especially. And isn't the metal recycling facility sort of like a reincarnation destination for cars? Won't the metal get melted and used in something else?

You tell me.

My dear, beloved Trusty. Comfortable, reliable car. Useful teaching tool. Now a pile of metal. May she have found the Summer Daytona in the Great Beyond. My heart is wrenched.

7 comments:

Lucretia said...

I also had a beloved Ford Escort, which was eventually totaled by a [insert swearword here] illegal alien; fortunately my spouse, who was driving at the time, was NOT totaled along with her. She was the only car I've had that was totally MINE; I bought her from a used car lot between marriages and paid off a few years before the accident. May she rest in peace.

She was replaced by a Plymouth Voyager named Janeway, aka The Behemoth. She has taken us places literally on her last leg more than once, including a 100+ mile drive, part of which was over a windy mountain road, that I finished about two minutes before her transmission failed. Although my inlaws have talked about giving us one of their cars, I refuse to discuss it in or near Janeway, as I don't want to upset her. Yes, I do believe they have souls, or at least something of the sort. And sometimes it's very hard to let them go.

JACKIESUE said...

my favorite car even more favored than my blue jeep and I loved that blue jeep..but I had a 54 dodge dove hunting car..the guys worked at the bakery across from the bar where I worked..when my car went blooey they sold me their dove hunting car for $50, with the promise to never get her fixed or sell her for more than $50..to turn her on there was a toggle switch on a wire that wrapped around the steering wheel and there was a button on the dash..you hat to hit the toggle switch and the button at the same time, but she always started..every morning I had to air up all 4 of the tires..the floor board was rusted out on the drivers side so during the summer (In Roswell, New Mexico) the heat off the road would give me a sun burn on back of my lets..during the winter the cold would blow up my legs and skirt and my vagina was a constant 45 degrees...I called her wonder mother..cause every morning I'd wonder if the mother would start..I moved to Farmington, New Mexico and sold it to my friends daughter for her school car..they did some work on her and she lasted thru her 4 years of high school and 3 of her younger brother..one day she just said fuckit I'm done..every one cried..I still miss her..but the best thing about her was every time you hit a bump dove feathers would float up from the bottom and then float back down..my boys loved it.

Maebius said...

Yes indeed, cars, and favorite Velveteen Rabbits, and all manner of "inanimate" objects have souls, when they are infused and invested with our love and energy to wake them up.

I'll always miss my VW Jetta. Same story, first "real car" that was all mine. It took me on so many adventures, before dying and going ot be reborn again somewhere/something. :)

Anonymous said...

How do you like your new Subaru? I'm on my third Subaru: the first, named Sue, I think didn't like me much. the second, Franny, was the car I loved -- drove her 257,300 miles, and now Frankie. Frankie I'm not sure if it's a boy or girl. But I have had a couple of male cars: Car'll Fil, and Mr. Greenjeep. I try to name them something from the license plate: Car'll Fil's letters were Fil. Frankie's are FKN (for Franklin). I had an MLE, called Emily, and an HLG called Helga. Frannie's letters were SEC -- Frances of SEC? I'm sorry I got rid of Frannie, though she was 18 years old and her transmission gave out.
--Kim

Mary said...

OMG, what's wrong with me--I don't give the vehicles human names. I guess my favorite was the '05 Magnum that everyone far and wide knew me to always refer to as The CaveCar. If you've ever been in a Dodge Magnum, you will understand that. I miss that car a lot. The Black chevy pickup? Blackie. The quad cab longbed chevy pickup with a canopy? The Limo. And then there was the '79 green and white Bronco aptly named The M&M, for very obvious reasons.
I have adored all my vehicles. Cept the one I'm driving now and which I feel I must keep even tho it gets crappy gas mileage, the '05 Xterra. If I felt like I could afford to get rid of it, it would have been gone at least a year ago. But it is still a sturdy and serviceable vehicle with the four wheel drive I wanted. And pretty much zero personality.
Thanks for caring! :)

Vest said...

My 4 litre Ford Falcon is called 'Henry' its number plate is 'KGV OOO'. it is named after the British Battleship I served on; HMS King George V. but despite its male name 'She' was was a great ship.
Of course you would know this if you were a regular caller to my Male Blog.

Diana Hayes said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I have a similar car that I also got at around 40,000 miles. The only difference is that I still driver her to work and she is now pushing 200,000 miles and rides like a dream. I have no car payments and maintenance is minimal each year to keep her purring down the highway.

Diana Hayes @ Baldwin Subaru