I got the call today that my car is officially totaled, and I’m far more emotional about it then I thought I would be. Last Friday, a deer decided to seal team 6 out of the grassy ditch divider on the highway and hit my car. The deer proceeded to parkour down the side, warping the drivers side, and then ran off with what I vindictively hope was a pretty serious concussion. I am lucky that I am totally fine, but my car is a goner.
Over the three years I’ve had this car, I’ve logged >75,000 miles, literally lived in it for 2 months, and spent countless hours road-tripping. This car has been with me driving across country three separate times and through 9 moves. So much of my life has changed in the past few years, and I never realized how much comfort I found in just sitting in the drivers seat, soothed by the idea that a car lock will protect me from school stress or bears or sexual harassment. This car represented freedom, as it gave me the power to just takeoff whenever I wanted. I’ll never forget moving up to MIT in this car, after another deer accident (they’re out to get me), with the front fender duct taped in place and I had to pull over every hour because the tape was literally melting from the heat. I’ll remember driving down the PCH, scared to be traveling alone but also in awe of the coastline and finally happy to be alive. I’ll remember driving across Texas, listening to trashy erotica and catching up with old college friends.
As a military brat, I’ve always joked that I was raised in a car. I remember being so mad at my parents when they sold the family station wagon after we had finally stopped moving every 2 seconds. Moving so often meant that I’d never really attached the idea of home to a given location, but the station wagon felt like something that would always be there. Friends would change, school would change, sports would change, but at least the car was always there with us, with its floam-stained cushion and its reverse seat in the trunk. ( Unrelated: my mom hated that reverse seat because it got in trouble because we would always say we rode in the trunk and people called the school). On one hand, it’s weird to think about how much sentimental value I’ve attached to something I just sit in, but on the other hand, home isn’t something that we get to choose.
Saying goodbye has never been hard for me because moving forced me to get used to it. There comes a special kind of numbness with knowing that you will have to leave in a few years, and that you will be forgotten, and that anything you do will fade away, only to be half-heartedly commemorated in a yearbook. Even still, as I signed the car away to go to the junkyard, I found myself crying over the suddenness of it all. Truthfully I’m not ready to let go of this car, but just like with moving, sometimes you don’t get the privilege of being ready. I will miss this car dearly, (or maybe deerly /j) and I’m forever grateful for all the memories its given me and places its taken me.