Many things happen over the span of nine years. I, for one, have lived in eight separate apartments in four states on opposing sides of the country. My hair has gone through many phases of colors. I’ve gone through about 50 goldfish.
Despite these unprecedented experiences and changes, one facet of my life has remained consistent: my car. I have had one car since I was 15: the black Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 convertible—“The Cavalier” (Ca-VAL-e-ay, as she is phonetically and pretentiously referred to).
The Cavalier had 13 miles of road experience when she arrived at my house in 1999. This week, the odometer reads more than 172,000 miles that have been personally accumulated through driving in 43 states and 3 countries. Suffice it to say, the Cavalier has been around the block.
It is for this very purpose that I must soon endure one of the most significantly emotional experiences of my life: trading her in Dec. 23 after I drive her home across country to Ohio one final time.
Now, I’m not an overly material person. The Cavalier is no master of engineering (though it is still on its first transmission, go GM!). But I am undoubtedly nostalgic, especially when it comes to my passion for transportation and adventure. As soon as I received my license, I knew that I’d be in the car a lot. As soon as I decided to go to college in Florida, I knew I’d be driving back and forth on breaks (1,100 miles to Ohio). As soon as I moved to California, I knew I’d be behind the wheel even more due to my fear of flying (2,310 miles). As soon as I transferred to La Verne, I knew I’d be spending hours in traffic during my commute from Pasadena (240 miles a week).
I admit, I have been denying the Cavalier of our precious togetherness since I’ve been exposed to the wonderful world of the Metro and Metrolink. But that doesn’t mean I love my car any less.
I’ve had some of the most important conversations of my life in that car. I found God while in my car; I’ve denounced God in my car. I’ve used the car for many untraditional activities: tanning and napping, to name a few.
Whenever I get stressed, angry or am unable to sleep, I get in the Cavalier, put down the top, crank some Nine Inch Nails and everything is OK. The Cavalier is my refuge, my property and my hobby, and I would not be the same person without such an outlet.
It infuriates me to know that the Cavalier will only yield a measly $500 trade-in value at the dealership. Yes, she has some miles, and she shows some cosmetic damage. But if you produce an ugly kid does that mean you love him less?
For these reasons, it will be inconceivably difficult to walk away and watch her fade in the rearview mirror as I drive away in my new car, like the traitor that I am. I know that the Cavalier has enabled the best times of my life. I also get to prepare for the separation instead of having it abruptly towed away after being totaled driving on I-210.
I could strive to be Irv Gordon, who has the ‘68, two million-mile Volvo that he keeps replacing parts on to continue driving. But I guess the time has come. We’ve had our memories; we’ve driven to some weird places, but most importantly, she drove me to where I am now.
Lesley Michaels, a senior communications major, is news editor and Web editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.