An Ode To My First Car

If you had told me several years ago that one day I'd cry over a car, I would've laughed in your face. But here I am, putting off writing this post for two weeks because I'm afraid I can't do my first car-love justice.

Two weeks ago, I cried when my first ever car was towed out of my life.

It's kind of crazy. I bought that car when I moved to Colorado Springs with $2,600 while telling myself, "it's fine, I just need something that can get me eight miles to and from work every day for three months." I named him Buzz and we trundled off into the sunset together.

Three months turned into six months turned into almost three years, me and my reliable old rust bucket of a car. (Oh look, and here I am getting a little weepy again as I'm writing this.)

You know that Liberty Mutual auto insurance commercial with the girl talking about the car named Brad? "You two had been through everything together! Two boyfriends, three jobs, you were like, 'nothing can replace Brad!'" That commercial weirdly resonates in my soul. Buzz was my Brad. Five cubicles, four jobs, three home addresses, two cross-country road trips, and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, no partridges or pear trees. There was a cardboard bobsled, though.

Road trip number two.

My life has gone through a lot of pretty major changes since graduating college, and Buzz was the one constant. It wasn't always smooth sailing, though. There were a few times I wanted to kill him, that one time I worried that I actually did, and that one time I accidentally locked the keys in him while he was running. He never killed me, though. He plowed through snow without any sliding around, he zipped from Colorado to New York getting 30 miles to the gallon, and the one time his engine died he made sure to do it in the parking lot outside my apartment building. He never let me down. (And now I'm misty again. Fantastic.)

But eventually, a 21-year-old car becomes too costly and work-intensive to maintain. There were new brakes, new spark plugs, and all sorts of new gadgets and gizmos that I couldn't even begin to remember the names of. My dad, the saint he is, had been helping me pay for all of it and finally decided enough was enough. He bought himself a (giant) pick-up truck as his midlife crisis and gifted me the car he was moving on from.

I contemplated selling Buzz on Craigslist, but ultimately ended up donating him to Kars 4 Kids. It felt like a fitting next step for a car that had been so good to me for so long; now he gets to go help a worthy cause.

The Kars 4 Kids donation form includes a field that asks about the condition of the car. I said: "Brakes occasionally skid, the AC compressor isn't long for the world, the transmission slips out of overdrive, and it's pretty rusty. But it still runs very well, all things considered."

LOL. Probably time to move on, no?

Nonetheless, it was an extremely bittersweet morning when the tow truck arrived. The driver was a very nice man who's been towing cars for longer than I've been alive, and he was very familiar with people getting sentimental about their cars. Before I could even ask, he offered to take some pictures of me and Buzz in our final moments together and "directed" the whole "photoshoot" (and when my phone mysteriously died, he took them on his and texted them to me afterwards). What a guy.

And then I cried a little bit as I said goodbye to my first car.

Now I'm driving a 2010 Dodge Nitro, an SUV dubbed Thor, who's very big and very nice and who I'm sure will treat me very well. But there's still a small part of me that misses Buzz's comfy seats and crank windows and chipped paint, and I hope he's found a new home somewhere.

The first day and the last day. Goodbye, old friend.

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