The sound of my fire extinguisher.
Ten years wasn't long enough.
It seems like we just returned from our honeymoon. The next day as I headed back to work the radiator FELL OUT of my Honda Civic. At the time we were flat broke newlyweds surviving on love and ramen noodles.
I remember calling my boss and telling him I needed one more day off. I could hear the smirk in his voice as he laughed and told me not to wear myself out. As if. I spent the day wandering from car dealer to car dealer.
You know how everyone says "You'll know when you find the right one." They are absolutely right. Misseswether said my face burst into a radiant smile the first time I set eyes on her...
Oops, pronoun trouble. "Her" in the above sentence was Jade Hawk my 1997 Toyota RAV4.
Jade Hawk, a thing of beauty.
She was year old and tricked out to the nines. Brush guard, dual sunroofs, manual transmission, awesome sound system, alloy wheels, running boards, full-time 4-wheel drive... Supposedly she was a show car used to introduce Toyota's new RAV4 line. My tiny 2-door model was only available for a limited time in the USA. For ten years she turned heads and drew smiles from people as we cruise by. People would stop me in parking lots to ask what she was.
I loved her and she loved me. I'd take Jade Hawk places most smart people wouldn't. She always got me home. The night Tropical Storm Allison hit I was out driving her around checking on the neighborhood. In the dark storm I couldn't make things out properly and suddenly found myself in water over the tires. She got me out of there.
Later, after the flood waters had gone down some.
Another time some guy in a parking lot decided he didn't like me or her. He came over and started yelling at me. I opened Jade Hawk's door and stepped out, towering over the guy. He looked up at me, then at my little RAV4, then back up at me and said, "Uh, sorry. I, um, thought you'd be smaller.", then he took off running.
For seven years Jade Hawk made my daily 106-mile commute almost relaxing and at 25 mpg, relatively cheap. On the weekends she'd find herself loaded up with ten 40-lb bags of mulch or a rocking chair or on occasion trees (the tops stuck out the rear sunroof) and never complained. When I changed jobs and my commute fell to 26 miles a day I thought she'd live forever.
Nothing lasts forever.
Driving home from work last Tuesday she popped out of 4th gear. I shifted Jade Hawk back into gear and made it home without any more trouble. I had been working my ass off for weeks and I was very tired that night so I figured I just hadn't shifted her into 4th completely. But by Friday she was popping out of 4th everytime I hit 45 mph.
The previous two Christmases she had ended up in the shop needing over $2000 in work each time. The hard years were taking a heavy toll on her. I figured anything that had to do with the transmission would cost in that neighborhood again.
It was time to let Jade Hawk rest.
I spent the weekend hitting car dealers (you should try it, it's very theraputic and no jury in the land will convict you). Sunday afternoon a deal had been made. Her trade-in value was $2000. After signing the paperwork I walked out to her, feeling like the boy in Old Yeller as he walked out to shoot his dog.
As I emptied her of my gear I had to look at her with honest eyes. Her paint was covered in scratches and chips. Her windshield was cracked all the way across. She was battered, drooping, and filled with mud from a hundred different hikes. She was still a thing of beauty to me and I mumbled apologies to her and patted her as I worked. The last thing I took out was the fire extinguisher I kept under the front seat. As I pulled it out the safety ring snaged on something and got yanked out.
Of course, I was pulling it out with my fingers on the trigger. It went off, filling the inside of Jade Hawk with a nasty yellow powder!
I quickly threw everything into my new vehicle, set Jade Hawk's keys on her dash and blew out of there...
In my new truck!
Adventure! Excitement! Abandoning An Old Companion!
Sunday, December 09, 2007