Sonja drove away in my 2003 Acura MDX leaving me in the dust holding 40 hundred-dollar bills, my full asking price. Not bad for a 17-year-old with 150,000+ miles.
I should have been thrilled. I was devastated.
Yes, I had received a fair price within days of my Facebook Market Place listing.
Yes, I had decided it was time to part ways with my Acura.
Yes, I had purchased new wheels- a 2020 Subaru Forester on order.
All went as planned, except for the regret part.
It shouldn’t have surprised me. Our relationship had always been emotional. My Acura was the first car I had independently purchased. At fifty-two I left the vehicle purchasing to my then husband. After minimal input I’d nod approval and sign whatever papers that needed signing. This arrangement worked fine. I drove a reliable, presentable pick-up, station wagon, van, and SUV for years. Then for some reason I decided I needed the “grown-up” experience of purchasing a car on my own.
One hot July afternoon in 2003, I sat across from the Acura salesman and wrote a check with 5 digits before the decimal point. He left to ready the MDX for departure. I left for the dealership bathroom and experienced my first and only panic attack.
Two questions raced through my mind as I hyperventilated. “Am I having a heart attack?” competed with “Did I REALLY spend that much money?”
I drove home at a crawl while breathing deeply.
Before the check cleared, I fell in love with my MDX. The navigational system guided me in a clear, nonjudgement voice even after “recalculating” numerous times. To a direction impaired driver, knowing I’d never be lost for long, instilled confidence and freedom.
Shortly after purchasing my Acura, I tuned into a Suze Orman program. The financial advisor vehemently opposed buying an expensive car with “bells and whistles” and whatever vehicle you DO buy, she advised, should be kept as long as possible.
Too late for the first part of the advice (which I’m not sure I would have taken anyway) I knew I would follow the second half of the dictum. To seal the vow, I named my Acura Suze.
The more miles Suze accrued, the more I loved her. The comfortable, safe driving experience traversed states to visit friends in Canada, hauled my son to soccer games, and protected me when a driver ran a red light and T-boned the driver’s side of the car.
I escaped with a half dozen stitches to my scalp. Suze required months of repair. We both healed without scars. Our bond strengthened.
I now understood car love affairs.
Owning Suze imbued The Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” and Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” and Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” with deeper relatable meaning.
We were sisters with matching tattoos!
Then like all of us, Suze aged.
Disks for the navigational system were no longer available, leaving me with sketchy maps. To compensate I bought a Garmin.
The radio and CD player failed. I replaced it with one from Best Buy.
The rattling stopped with the installation of a new heat shield. A new starter motor helped Suze become less cantankerous when urged to life. New alternator and tires and serpentine belt followed.
Suzie patched up to a reliable state. However, I didn’t trust she was fit for a lengthy road trip. And a lengthy road trip was in order post-pandemic. We both needed to begin a new chapter.
So, Sonja bought Suze with crisp hundred-dollar bills. After a seventeen-year relationship, it was a tough good-bye.
However, not ALL good-byes are tough. An upcoming one will be welcomed.
On Tuesday, November 3rd vote for Joe so we can bid farewell to Donald!
That’s a good-bye I won’t regret.
Check out my children’s book, OPERATION HOPPER AND OTHER TALES, and discussion guide on my Amazon author page.