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My Blue Heaven

November 15, 2010
I purchased my first car when I was 20 years old.  My mom took me car shopping on a baking San Joaquin valley summer day.  We saw pretty close to every used car (and even a couple of new ones) in our town but each one just made me feel… meh.  Nothing.  I had a vision in my mind of the car I wanted.  A Honda Civic, four door, with air and cruise and power windows. Preferably in that late 90s medium metallic blue.  There was no way in hell (and if you know what a SJV summer day feels like, you’ll know that’s exactly where we were) that I was going to find such a vehicle in my price range.  It didn’t matter though, because we didn’t see one in any of the lots in town anyway. 

But then.  Then we went to the next town over and all by its lonesome on a Ford dealership’s back lot… there it sat.  The zillion degree sun gleaming from the perfect blue of a freezing alpine lake (or so it seemed to me).  Maybe in reality it wasn’t all by its lonesome, but when I saw it, the angels sang from heaven and everything else disappeared.

I’m not really a car person.  I swear.  But something about my little civic sitting there, well, it got to me.  I fell in love.  With an inanimate object.

It *was* out of my price range, as it turns out, but my mother saw that gleam in my eye and together we sat in a booth at a Wendy’s and figured out how we could make it work.

Since that moment my car and I have been through a lot.  60 payments were made whether I had the money or not (and many months I did not).  There have been expensive repairs and dings and scratches, a new bumper and countless tears soaked into the upholstery over stupid boys or just the heartache of being young.  I’ve listened to my favorite songs, singing at the top of my lungs with the windows open and not a care in the world who could hear.  There have been moments when the space inside the metal and glass was the only place in the world that truly felt like mine.  That truly felt like home. 

I know it sounds crazy. It’s not like I was homeless. Far from it, in fact.  But the summer that I bought my car was the summer that my parents moved out of my childhood home and away from my childhood town.  I was adrift, with a college apartment shared with three other girls (including Laura!) and no sense of true belonging.

so this weekend when we bought a new family car and had to get rid of one of our old cars, we were all set to sell my little blue honda (which, admittedly, is somewhat worse for wear after 175 thousand miles) to my 16-year-old nephew.  But as it neared, I began feeling more sad and more anxious about the transaction by the hour.  Finally, at the last minute, I decided that I just couldn’t go through with it.  And as soon as I made the decision I knew it was the right thing to do.  A weight lifted off my shoulders.  My civic and I will live to drive another day.

We totally bait-and-switched my poor nephew into buying our old volvo sedan.  The volvo was a much nicer car and a better value for his money, but also a bit  more grandpa-ish.  But hey, as he said himself, a car is a car!

And it is.  Unless of course it’s my trusty little civic.  She may rattle and shake and strain on the hills, and most of the paint might be slowly wearing from her shiny blue roof, she might even have duct tape somewhere under the hood… but she’s all mine. and for now, she’s going to stay that way.


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