My car, Jaqueé Noir, died while I was at work this week. We have decided to donate her to charity and are in the market for a new vehicle. As wonderful as my small sedan has treated me, we would prefer a larger vehicle to facilitate camping adventure throughout our beautiful Southwest, with sloppy dog in tow.
My car is a ’99 Toyota Corolla. I purchased her nearly 6 years ago from my mom’s cousin Ivan, who has a dealership in Minnesota. At the time, I was living outside of Tucson, and was extremely dependent on a Volkswagen Golf with frequent mechanical problems. I was financially strapped but found a way to finance a used car that would be reliable. My best girlfriend took me up on the offer of a whirlwind roadtrip (what a friend!), and our travels to and from the Midwest to trade in the Volkswagen for my Corolla was one of the best times in my life. She helped me name the car (christened after a stripper her philandering exboyfriend had slept with), and by the time we rolled into Arizona, with a backseat littered with fast food wrappers and Tori Amos crooning through the speakers, Jaqueé was fully mine. With a few cigarette burns in the apoustery and a couple minor scratches, the car wasn’t pristine when she came into my life, but was in excellent condition overall.
With a 30 mile work commute, we spent a lot of time together in the first years of our relationship. She showed great tenacity driving on flooded roads during the monsoon, and carried me down dirt paths designed for 4WD vehicles to camping destinations. From Phoenix to Flagstaff, from Naco to the North Rim, she has faithfully wherever I needed to go. I used to pray that Jaqueé would last until I completed my master’s degree. She has done that and more. In the last few months, she started to have more mechanical issues, but still reliably brought me, time and time again, to the side of my dying mother.
She is 13 years old and is showing her age. Parked on the streets of Tucson, she has been vandalized on several occasions– she no longer has a hubcaps or a radio. The power windows no longer reliably function. On a hot day, you can smell the Pine Sol I spilled in the trunk on the day I moved in with the man who is now my husband.
Life has changed a lot since the late night I returned home to Arizona with my new car. I now hardly drive, as I live in town and prefer to bike for my transportation. When I do drive to work, parking my dilapitated college-girl car next to the BMWs and Porsches of my colleagues always makes me smile.
Its difficult to let go of my past, but there are wonderful things to look forward to in the future.