02 May 2012

Black Horse Of Freedom

Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent my time off of the blogging grid and up to my eyeballs in paperwork. I apologize, readers, that I haven't kept up with it. Life has been a combination of a breakneck pace and some much-deserved downtime (even if I was laid up from surgery).

After the car accident a few weeks ago, my car was deemed totaled. Before the tragic news, I was the constant optimist. I rationalized that the damage wasn't that bad. I was holding onto hope that it would be a relatively affordable fix and that I would be able to again pound the road with Cavalier Eternal. I just couldn't fathom being without that car.

For me, it was more than a car. It was one of my best friends. Hell, some times it seemed like we were a romantic couple. We'd push each others buttons and frustrate the hell out of each other some times, but we always knew who we were going home with. I've got literal scars from that car and, in turn, the car had scars from me. We forged ourselves together in Midwest winters, coughing and shaking and trying to wake ourselves in the early Indiana mornings.

It wasn't just a means of transportation. It was the black horse of freedom in many ways. Back in the day when Jared owned it, seeing it meant the ragtag gang of us would be mobile. Back and forth between diners, our dead city became open to us. We weren't stuck as long as we could just go. We took that same car to Manchester, IN one winter in a fucking blizzard. Nothing would hold us back as long as Cavalier Eternal was purring like a cat with a smoker's cough.

We wreaked havoc on the city with the Cavalier as our getaway car. We battled the elements. In the torrential rains and the frozen snow, the suffocating heat and the crunch of leaves, Cavalier Eternal was a tank. If you took care of him, he took care of you. After I bought the car from Jared, I carried on a tradition that had become so important in name and rank. Road trips were something I could add to my monthly agenda.

Not only did that car mean the world to me and my boys during our glory days, but it was Robin and I's vehicle of salvation. Once we decided to move to Portland, a cross-country trip in Cavalier Eternal was in our future. I took the car into the most reputable mechanic I have ever met and had him check it over. A couple hundred bucks later and the car was ready to drive across the country. After an amazing, sleep-deprived trip through mountains and deserts and rain and snow, Robin and I arrived in Portland and the Cavalier was no worse for the wear (except he desperately needed an oil change). The entire time we have lived here, I never really had to do major work on it. Regular maintenance was just another routine. At the time I wound up junking it, it had had 148,000+ miles on it. I had put 35,000 miles on it in just four years.

I never imagined Cavalier Eternal going out the way it did. It was because of an impatient driver that Cavalier Eternal was knocked out of commission. I had always figured on it going out in a blaze of glory, in a kind of epic way. Rather, it was taken from an irresponsible second party.

Although I was sad to see it finally go, a small part of me was happy to have finally left it behind. Cosmetically, it was falling apart. All of the seat handles were missing, exposing rusted springs and cables underneath like a flayed fish. The seat belts were missing the caps over the bolts. My spare tire and jack were covered in rust. There were stickers of bands I had ultimately disowned on the back of it. The upholstery was torn to shit and cigarette burns spotted the interior. The center console didn't latch and I had broken my glovebox at least twice.

I also had a lot of silly superstitions tied to the car, most of which were completely unfounded. In a sense, these superstitions controlled a lot of operating the car, even on the smallest level. Like always having to have the volume set at a certain level when I got out of the car. Or having the center console lid always closed. Stupid shit, really, but superstitions nonetheless. It's better not to ask.

Cavalier Eternal was my first car I ever owned. I paid for it in cash and never had a car payment to make. It has gone down in history as such. I will miss him, but I have got to move on. It's time to make new memories with my new Cavalier.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah. This almost made me cry. I miss that car, but Silvio is a noble replacement. Many more years and many adventures to come in the new Cavalier, and several years down the road when it's time to let go--you'll feel some of the same attachments as you did to Cavalier Eternal.

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