Automotive Memories

20140330-203147.jpgI bought a car yesterday. My trusted 2004 Camry runs just as well as it ever has, but I learned 10 days ago that it will not pass the emission control test when it gets inspected (its current inspection sticker expires tomorrow.) The estimated cost of restoring it to compliance is $3,700, as a goodly chunk of the exhaust system needs replacing.

The car has given me more than 143,000 good miles with very little trouble. However, the cost-benefit analysis pointed to replacing it. The cost of the repair is greater than its value, and this likely would not be the last repair. So, yesterday I made a deposit on a 2013 Camry with low mileage. The dealer and I agreed on a fair price.

It’s exciting to get a car, but I’m feeling surprisingly sentimental about the car I’m about to give up. By the time I’ve parted with my other cars, I’ve hated them to the point of wishing molten death for them (maybe not my 85 Ford Tempo, but I still felt indifference.) I won’t identify my two cars before this one (hint: The cars and I share a name), but they gave me lots of bonding time with mechanics. Lots of very expensive bonding time.

This car gave me none of that. It just ran. More than that, I’m remembering all the happy memories that car and I share:

  • Taking my oldest son and his buddies to concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Hunter Mountain.
  • All three of my boys learning to drive in it and passing their road tests in it.
  • My youngest and I making road trips out to Boston to visit my oldest.
  • Trips to Balticon over the last five Memorial Day weekends.
  • More rides than I can count with my beloved dogs, first Ginger and now Brady, in the co-pilot’s seat.
  • Driving to and from my first sci-fi convention, Astronomicon in Rochester, in a pouring rainstorm so I could meet Tee Morris.

I’m not going to call my old Camry a friend, as that would be creepy really weird icky. However, I associate that car with a lot of really good times in my life. As my sons grow into men and settle in to their own lives, the memories of those times are something I cherish. That old car helped make them such good memories.

You done good, old car. Thanks for the ride.


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