"You say ‘good bye’, I say hello’." (The Beatles)
There is a time for laughs, and fun, and joy, and then, there are sadder days, of good byes and mourning …
For about a year now, I kept telling myself that I am not ready for a new car. I loved my Toyota Echo. As I have said before, I was attached to it.
It’s been with me for almost 10 years. And I bought it used – so it was even older than that! We have commuted together, gone to parties together, schlepped my nephew around in it, and my entire family, almost all my friends, took my friend to the ER in it more times than I can count … It took my small, very sick, beloved kitty to the vet on his last ride, and back to his grave .... We traveled all around the East Coast, it’s kept me safe while driving through Atlanta, Boston and DC. It’s been through a couple of collisions, but never failed to be a stable, reliable little car! I camped in it (literally), and ate my lunch in it. Read, wrote and napped in it, too! Probably the most amazing thing the Echo’s been through with me, my husband and my three cats is the across America trip of 2010. It did fantastic. It didn’t even need more air in the tires! It flew across the country like an eagle. With purpose, and direction!
Lately, it’s been starting to show signs of aging, however. It was still, I thought, a healthy little car. Since I moved to Utah, where the roads are crap (sorry, it’s true!) , it started squeaking a bit. I lost a couple of tires to the construction madness that we have had on the roads for the past 3 years. Some decal trim started to come off of it. A button inside the door frame that operates the light broke. My antenna was plucked out by the automatic wash … and the likes.
But it was still my baby! It’s been getting me through my crazy commute for the past year or so, 60 miles a day. Every day. Through rain, and snow and ice. It’s always been the absolute most comfortable car I have ever driven. I feel quite at home behind that steering wheel.
I was not ready for a new car, because I loved that little one! But as life would have it, just when I was contemplating that maybe, just maybe after 10 years, 100K+ miles of my own driving on it (135K total for the car), paint peeling off and springs screaming in pain when only my 115 lbs frame sits in the driver’s seat, maybe … it’s time to say good bye … Just when I was thinking this, the Echo decides this week to throw a “check engine” light on its cute, central console dashboard. A “check engine” light that came with a $2600 + tax + labor fees tag on it.
I think it helped that I was kind of on the fence about buying a car, because my decision not to fix it was pretty fast. As of a couple of days ago, we retired the Echo, and we’re the happy new owners of a white, slightly used Prius. Yes, folks, now, I am “one of them”!
This will take some getting used to. I am still missing my crazy golden unbridled little two door wonder. I still cringe at the new car payment on the new beauty in my garage. But my carbon footprint just shrank! How can I not be happy about that?! Just teasing here, because that’s not why I bought this car. Having a hybrid kind of came to me, I didn’t look for it.
It’s a beautiful car – so far, although it’s not the Echo! … Without a doubt, it’s the most expensive one I have ever owned and the fanciest – leather (which I swore I would never buy!) and all. But as I get older, and I guess wiser about my career choices and savings, and as I find out that life is short and precious, comfort trumps cash for me lately. I tried other Toyotas, before I “settled” for the Prius, but none of them gave me the visibility and comfort in the driver’s seat that the Echo has given me for years. And alas, they don’t make them anymore! So, I settled.
I say ‘hello’ to my new car, with my heart still longing for the old. Life moves on. I hope a nice, college girl finds the Echo, after the dealer fixes it for $200 (and I made peace with that, too), and it goes on and on, as Toyotas go, for many more miles, making her happy and giving her happy memories, just like it did it for me.
And it’s sometimes just time to part with things (yes, things, too, just like lives …) that you love. Sometimes we’re ready, and sometimes life doesn’t ask. It just forces us to.
With the Echo in Vail, CO, on our Trans-America trip - 2010
Good bye, little Echo! It’s not because of lack of love. It’s because … it was time! Your place in my heart is safe and forever, don’t you worry!
And ‘hello’, Mr. Prius. Let’s see what your fanciness is all about! And for all of you, you can call me Ms. Green-In-Training.
And I leave you with the masters ...