Sunday, February 12, 2017

Long May You Run

It's been several months now since I gave up El Volvo.  Born in 1986, the same year as one of my nieces (married, a mother), El Volvo came into my life in 1999 and served me well for 16 plus years.

Not much to look at, El Volvo had an engine that wouldn't quit.  But circumstances brought another car into our possession, and we can hardly justify two, let alone three.  Still, I held on to the Volvo for a lot longer than I should have.

It took me months to understand why.  Then I realized that on my many drives to local theatres to review plays, I was almost always alone.  I went alone, sat alone and returned alone.  I had to get myself together to go, especially when they were plays I didn't particularly want to see, on nights or afternoons I would rather have stayed home.  And then I had to figure out what to say about them.

At several theatres, the management people were nice to me, but by and large actors and others involved in the production weren't especially friendly.  Why should they be--I was outside the process, judging them.  Pretty much a buzzkill.  Most often these weren't comfortable evenings.

But I did have one companion--El Volvo.  My car got me there safely and most importantly, got me home.  That applies to other situations as well.  That was a relationship, and it turned out to be hard to end.

There was a lot I liked about that old car.  It pre-dated a lot of fancy technologies that are mostly confusing and are little more than something else that can break.  The windows actually wound down.  At the same time, there were some very nice Volvo features.  Headlights that go off when I turn off the engine.  A visor that swivels to catch sunglare to the sides.  I liked the dark blue upholstered seats.  And all the confidence of being in a Volvo out there with the crazies.

El Volvo gave me very little trouble over the years, mostly electrical from that old wiring.  It was missing rear brake lights and the headlights never were very strong.  But I do believe there was some good karma attached to the car because of how I bought it.

I answered an ad in the Times Standard.  The car was being sold by a young woman in Eureka.  She and her boyfriend bought it used--she told me the price they paid--and now she was selling it so she could go visit him in Mexico, prior to their wedding.  He was working there.  She was living with her father.

I had it looked at before I bought and it needed some work.  She and her father listened to me say so in the dimly lit living room.  But when I made my offer they were both surprised.  Essentially I offered about $100 more than she'd paid for it, pretty obviously as a wedding present.  She was overjoyed.  Her father was so pleased he almost hugged me.

When it came time to part ways, I thought I would donate it to a public radio station.  But that turned out to be complicated and pretty impersonal.  I was supposed to talk to somebody in Colorado.  Then a local guy offered to buy it--he likes fixing up old cars.  I figured El Volvo would have a better chance at a longer life that way.  With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run.

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