Diptoe

My Car Is Dead

Posted in Personal Thoughts by diptoe on December 24, 2010

I originally posted this online in 2007. Thought I’d bring it here. Enjoy!

July 5, 2007

My car is dead. It died silently during the night – the surrounding trees and a lone yard light stood as quiet sentinels, the only witnesses to the event. The car, a worn down 1989 red Chevy Beretta, had been on its last legs for quite some time now. The night before, it had groaned and sputtered to life one last time. The death rattle of its aging engine, so familiar to me by then, had prompted my sister to call me from her room to offer her car for the evening. I accepted her offer and left, forgetting about my faithful red Beretta parked forlornly on the gravel driveway. It never started again.

The car was in no way beautiful. Its many previous owners had used it and abused it, then passed it on to the next person. The last few years before I bought it, the car sat parked, used only when emergency necessitated. I purchased it in late 2003 from my boss’s boyfriend. The boyfriend wanted $300 for the car; on the advice of a friend that owned a car dealership, I offered him $50. We settled on $150 as a fair price, considering that it looked as if it would die any moment, even back then.

My car remained undyingly loyal during the four years we were together. It never really quit on me and no major repairs were ever needed. Well, except for that one time I drove over a set of railroad tracks minus the crossing. But I digress.

Like a stereotypical first car, it lacked the many of the comforts we take for granted. It had no air conditioning, and the heat quit for a couple of weeks one winter. The interior was shot. The driver’s side window would not roll down, and the door handle broke about a month ago. And no cup holders. Who makes a car with no cup holders?

Unfortunately, I never fully trusted my little red Beretta. I used it as all the previous owners had, giving it just enough love and care to ensure life, but never happiness as a car would imagine happiness to be. I never even tried to “fix it up,” reasoning that it would only be throwing money to the wind.

My relationship with my car was strained as a result. I frequently used other cars or sought other means of transportation to avoid the humbling experience of showing up at an occasion with *that thing.* In retrospect, this was an exceedingly ungrateful attitude. What kind of master refuses to be seen with his most loyal servant?

Now, upon the eve of its death, I ask forgiveness and make my peace. The car will be loved and remembered as only a first car can be. Though it had shortcomings, I realize now that perhaps they were only a reflection of my own. I am grateful for the times my little red Beretta and I had together. Its future is uncertain – I will likely not send it to the repair shop to be revived. Sometimes it is best to leave things at peace. –Edgar Diaz

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2 Responses

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  1. Edward said, on December 24, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Love it! Sometimes we don’t realize the best cars we own (in retrospect) are the ones we ‘liked’ the least..

  2. diptoe said, on December 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Exactly. I’d love to have that car back about right now. Over the 3+ years that I owned it I put maybe $300 to $500 a year into maintenance and repairs. Both cars I’ve owned since then has lasted less than two years, and cost me at least $1200 per year in maintenance and repairs.


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