You may have noticed a lull in my writing in the month of June. It's because I was all of a sudden forced to do a few "adult" things and I wasn't coping well.
First, I had to buy toilet paper for the first time in my life. I know that sounds ridiculous, but trust me when I say it's a great story for another day. Second, I bought my first vehicle. But it's not even the buying of the vehicle mixed with the purchasing of toilet paper that did me in. It's the fact that I had to say goodbye to my first true love.
My first car. The love of my life.
I realize that usually only dudes fall in love with their vehicles, but this wouldn't be the first time I find myself being more of a guy than a gal. It's not just something you can let go of, you know? There are few people and even fewer things that have been with me for 14 years of my existence, but that car was. And I felt I was losing a little piece of myself.
Let me take that back. It wasn't just the letting go part that had me so upset. It was the feeling that I was abandoning it.
"It's just a hunk of metal," my mom said.
"You'll start to love your new car and won't even remember that old one after a few weeks," said a few of my co-workers.
While I know they were trying to calm my crazy self down, those kind of thoughts just made me feel worse. It wasn't just metal and my new car could never even begin to replace the feelings I had for my old one. Not possible. Not for Dan Carbone.
Yeah, it had a name. To the outside world, it's a 2001 Hyundai Tiburon with 91,000 miles, a few tiny rust spots, and a possible transmission issue. But to me, it will always be Dan Carbone. It was named after one of my favorite people during my senior year of high school.
That sounds a bit dramatic, right? Trust me, it's not. All these years later, I still have his business card. I also still have the car brochure that traveled in my bookbag back and forth to school more than any history or math book ever did.
Before the deal was even finalized, I had went out and bought some Black Magic Tire Wet. No tires of mine were going to look dull and dusty.
And cruise we did.
That car ventured with me to college. It got loaded with months-worth of laundry and brought home on Christmas and summer vacations for four years in a row. It played the entire 50 cent "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " cd so many times, I'm surprised the tracks aren't burned into the stereo. It traveled to Columbus during the summer internship at a radio station which began my career. It drove across the country as I left home in Ohio for my first real job in Wisconsin. It moved from La Crosse to Stevens Point to Green Bay. It has been packed up and unloaded more times than I can count. It's survived countless boyfriends and a few fiancés. None of those have lasted 14 years, but Dan Carbone did.
It had always been there for me and it just felt like I was giving up on it. So many people said that I should be glad I got that many years out of it, but I wasn't. I was heartbroken. With so much change in my life over the past decade, that car has always been reliable and a constant in my ever-changing life. Maybe I'm too sentimental. Maybe it's because my dad bought it for me. Maybe it's because no matter where I went, it always reminded me of home.
The logical thing that I should have done was trade it in. LOGICAL.
But I couldn't. I didn't want it to go to a bad home. How ridiculous is that? I didn't want it to go to someone who wouldn't park far away so that no one would smash a cart into it. I couldn't let it go not knowing if its new owner would care about shining its tires.
I knew if I turned those keys over to the dealership, I may never know what happened to my beloved Dan Carbone. I just couldn't do it.
For the past few days, I've been working up the courage to put a "For Sale" sign in the window. But it's hard. REALLY hard. I feel like once that happens, I've cut the cord for real. It just goes back to that whole abandonment issue that I seem to be having. Yes, about a car. Yes, I realize how crazy that sounds.
They've been laughing at me at the radio station, saying that maybe I should take out an ad on OKCupid for the car since I love it so much. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it. To me, it deserves so much more than Craigslist.
I'm well aware that I am probably one of the very few people who gets this attached to a vehicle. But it's not just a car. It's all those memories. And stories. And part of my life.
Don't get me wrong. I like my new car. But I don't love it. Not like that. I don't know that I ever will.
But I think when I turn 32 tomorrow, I can finally come to terms with being an adult. I've bought toilet paper now. I have a monthly car payment to make. I have a loan, like a real adult usually does. I know normal people have been doing these type of things for years now, but as we all well know- I'm not the normal person.
Normal people get attached to people, not inanimate objects. That's just not my style.
So maybe tomorrow, I'll make a sign for this beautiful "hunk of metal". And as I blow out those 32 candles on my birthday cake, I'll make a wish for Dan Carbone. May he find a new home that loves him just as much as I did.
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