the long goodbye

It was goodbye to the Saab today, my dearly beloved car. You’ll remember my love/hate relationship with cars – hate car culture, love my car, love going for a drive – or maybe you won’t. Either way, today was the end; today I sent my car away.

Some time ago, back when I was even smaller than I am now, we lived with some friends for a month or so while our house was being finished (actually, while we waited and waited for there to be a working well, but that’s another story). These friends had a Saab each and I loved them (the friends and the Saabs). My 11th birthday, they gave me a model Saab, which I loved and wrote an ode to in my English class. It went something like this:

You are red and you are black
With a gold interior
**blah, blah, can’t remember the middle part**
**blah, some other stuff I can’t remember**
My Saab 900 Turbo.

Literary gold, y’all – at age 11! Anyway, Saabs – I’ve loved them since childhood. I learned to drive on a Saab, and have had no other car to my name since. And this last one, it’s been Teh Best. 16 valve, so I can really kick some Other Car Ass; smooth, cool “rose quartz” paint job; rear hatch that, when the back seat was down made it almost like a truck; sunroof for extra breezes; the mileage could make a hybrid stand up and take notice. It made it through me helping a couple people into the wide and wonderful world of standard transmissions and never needed a clutch job. There were more Sunday afternoon drives through rural Virginia with LB and mixed tapes (mixed tapes?!) than there are stars in the sky and still there were less than 200k miles on it.

And it was mine, in that way things are when you really, really love them. I’d been driving it for so long, it felt like an extension of my being. I knew the sweet spot on the clutch like I know my name. The steering wheel must have had imprints from my hands on it. I could pop-start the motherfucker on a flat stretch of gravel with my foot out the door.

Good old car. It was 21 this year. I patted it fondly as I took all my shit out of the trunk.

But today was the end. I posted it for parts on Craigslist (I thought about posting last week’s unused sperm there, too – or maybe on Freecycle….) and got an email from some guy in the Valley saying he’d take it. So he came today and turned out be this scrappy little indy kid (or, rather, the kind of boy the indy kids *want* to look like) with a hat that said “ugly stick” on it and grease covered jeans. Totally adorable. So I was less sad, just because he was cute. He let me drive it up the ramps onto the trailer (woo! new skill!) and mentioned he runs demolition derby. He says my car runs so well he might use it for that! A far more glamorous end than rusting in a junk yard.

Oh, farewell, my dearly beloved car. Farewell.

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8 Comments on “the long goodbye”

  1. LB says:

    At least it went to a good home!
    So sad.
    xo

  2. gypsygrrl says:

    awwww…what a sweet story. very nice it went to such a cutie pie of a kid. and much better than a sad and lonesome rusting in a junk yard.

    you made me recall my first car and that relationship 😉 and the saying-goodbye to it. isnt it funny how a car can represent so much?

    farewell starhill saab…

  3. amanda says:

    Farewell little Saab!

    Ok, so i must be hormonal because this post just made me tear up. WTF? Could be because it reminds me of the p.o.s. jeep wrangler i had for a few years that, as you described, felt like an extension of myself.

    Glad it found a fun new home with someone who can appreciate it! 😉

  4. calliope says:

    a demolition derby?!?!

    dude. That’s how I want to go too.

    a wonderful tribute to what i am sure was a wonderful car.

  5. anaccidentofhope says:

    oh, I’m so sorry. Farewell, brave car, you shall be remembered with tears and laughter.

  6. Hard Girl says:

    My relationship was with your previous Saab, since I barely knew this one, but I’m still happy that it may get to be in a demolition derby!

    I finally had to have that 1978 silver volvo with orange racing stripes towed away as a donation to public television a few years ago, and I’m not too proud to admit that I cried watching it go.

  7. ms.bri says:

    I am tearing up. I miss our Saab SO FREAKING MUCH. It was killed by a puddle during the hurricane the week before Beck came. I am all about free and very grateful to my father for his generosity, but we now drive a PT Cruiser. NOT. A. SAAB. I ache each time I get in ‘our’ car.

  8. Brooke says:

    remember the little toyota with the flop down seats that took us all over town and back again week after week, the road trips, the conversations, cracking the windshield as C. McCl. lay across the roof when we talked in the parking lot the night of your coming out to her, driving to find something that we never found and realizing the fun was in the looking. my current car is chasing 200k. It’s got it’s special points, but nothing will match that one.

    at least it’s in adorable hands.


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