Those of you who know me in real life probably know how much I love my car. Aaaand those of you who don’t know me probably know how much I love my car (see “Bubbles the Bug” page). If you read the story on the aforementioned page or if I’ve told you in person, you also know why I love my car so much. She’s very special to me and I make sure she is properly groomed (clean on the inside), bathed (car wash) and has frequent checkups at the doctor’s office (mechanic). But, the truth is, she’s getting, well, old.
Don’t tell her I told you that.
Sometimes I hear questionable noises when I don’t have her brand-new stereo system bumpin’ out the likes of Miley Cyrus or Iggy Azalea. Her rear hatch (uhh, underwear? I’m stumped) only opens with the physical key, not just the fob, and she has quite a few pimples on her face (spots where the paint is chipping away).
I watch my colleagues walk across the road to the parking lot just outside of my apartment and climb into Audis, BMWs and other respectable, new-looking cars. It pisses me off that sometimes I look at them with envy, wondering what it’s like to have a completely reliable car. Bubbles definitely does the job –– don’t get me wrong –– but the reason why I bought my plane ticket to Long Island this week instead of driving seven hours is so I don’t stress out or hurt my baby.
It’s when I see those fancy-ass cars (and when my ex drove me around in his car) that I mentally reference The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, a novel I read my freshman year.
Chipping paint or not, Bubbles is still a car and she does her job very well. I’m so fortunate to even have a car. Plus, what 17-year-old receives her dream car the first time around? Probably not too many.
In the novel, Randy tells of the time when his wife, Jai, backed out of the garage right into the front of his Volkswagen convertible. She panics over the damage done to his car, but Randy remains calm.
“After dinner, we looked at the cars. I just shrugged, and I could see that for Jai, an entire day’s worth of anxiety was just melting away. ‘Tomorrow morning,’ she promised, ‘I’ll get estimates on the repairs.’
I told her that wasn’t necessary. The dents would be OK. My parents had raised me to recognize that automobiles are there to get you from point A to point B. They are utilitarian devices, not expressions of social status. And so I told Jai we didn’t need to do cosmetic repairs. We’d just live with the dents and gashes.
Jai was a bit shocked. ‘We’re really going to drive around in dented cars?’ she asked.
‘Well, you can’t have just some of me, Jai,’ I told her. ‘You appreciate the part of me that didn’t get angry because two “things” we own got hurt. But the flip side of that is my belief that you don’t repair things if they still do what they’re supposed to do. The cars still work. Let’s just drive ’em.'”
Sometimes I get self conscious about my cute little car and the noises she makes. Sometimes I wish I had the money to invest in a new outfit for her (paint job). But you know what? She does what she needs to do and she hasn’t let me down.
“Take care of it and it’ll take care of you,” the woman who sold me the car told me when I was 17.
Moral of the story: appreciate what you have. I think I do.
Bubbles is so, so special. She gets me from point A to point B and has since my senior year of high school. I would’ve hated for her to read the beginning of this post, but I think she’d be delighted by its ending.
I can’t wait for spring when I can finally treat her to a “spa day” as a reward for getting me through a rough winter.