I had to end the longest relationship of my life this past summer – with my car. Goldenrod, my beloved Saturn, had been my one and only for the entirety of my driving life. She was there through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the peaks and the valleys…

I still remember the moment we met. It was the day before my senior year of high school. I instantly fell in love. Sure, maybe she wasn’t as glamorous as my best friend’s Civic or my sister’s Escort, but she was all mine.

From that moment on, Goldenrod was there to see me through the next major events of my life. The college years. Those endless trips back and forth between home and school that saved me the suffering of waiting for the bus during those miserable Chicago winters (not environmentally friendly but unless you’ve experienced a January morning in Chicago, don’t judge). Then the agonizing cross-country journey that finally unloaded me in California. Not to mention the dozen or so times that I packed and unpacked her as I moved from city to city, apartment to apartment. Granted, she had her moments when she would let me down – the occasional dead battery, the oil leaks, the other random system failures. But what relationship doesn’t have its tests of strength? No matter what the problem, Goldenrod and I could always see it through and our relationship would come out of the storm stronger than ever.

But then I began to notice it – those nearly imperceptible jitters that began to grow in size and frequency over the next several months. The chronic RPM fluctuations. Signs that perhaps she wasn’t as healthy as I had thought. True, we both were getting older, but I guess I just assumed that she would pull through again like she always did. Then the mechanic confirmed my worst fears – yes, there really was a problem. A problem that would not just fix itself, a problem that needed attention, a problem that would cost me more than Goldenrod was worth by Kelley Blue Book standards.

I was ashamed. How could I even think of money at a time like this? Goldenrod had been with me through so much, how could I possibly consider forsaking her during her time of need? I swear I didn’t want to do it. When I would look over at her lazily parked on the street, it was like the good old days, fun and carefree. But when I would take her out onto the road, the anxiety in me would build once again. Would this be it? Would she break down on me at this very light? Would she embarrass me in front of total strangers?

And then I met her. Mazy Star. Others may know her by her proper name – Mazda3 – but the nickname just seemed appropriate and so it stuck. It was love at first sight. What can I say? Mazy had power locks, power windows, a CD player and working AC. It’s not fair to compare one car with another, but Mazy made me feel alive again. It had been so long. With Goldenrod, it was just worry after worry. With Mazy, everything was fun and carefree once more.

So I did it. I broke it off with Goldenrod. I knew she would be hurt and confused. I knew she would never understand. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I just cried and cried… Until I sat inside Mazy and inhaled that intoxicating new car smell. And somehow, the hurt slowly began to fade away as I blasted the AC and cranked my new Santigold CD.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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One Response to “Goldenrod, A Tribute”

I love this! You’ve drawn some funny yet lovely personal parallels here.

November 9th, 2009