from the first time i saw the scion xA, i knew i had to have one. in may 2005, i decided to buy myself a (admittedly rather large) “birthday present” and bought a black scion xA. it was the first car i’d owned that hadn’t been given to me by a family member, or that i hadn’t bought off of a friend. i had chosen this specific make and model, and i had purchased it with my own money. it was symbolic of my freedom, mobility, and financial independence. it was a badass little roller skate, had no cruise control, but an amazing sound system, which led to many trips of listening to rock at top volume and singing my heart out. i have fond memories of driving the I-275 loop around cincinnati (when i just needed to go for a drive, you know?), and hurtling north on I-65 at 95+ MPH on my way to visit my friends in chicago. it got me through winter snowstorms during a visit to missouri, and carried to and around charlotte, north carolina when i moved there in 2012. then it carried me safely across the united states in november 2013 when my husband and i moved to seattle for my new job.
i’ve had the conversation with only a couple others about the phenomenon of feeling like you have a relationship with your car. like how i knew exactly how much space i needed to parallel park, like my car was almost an extension of my own body. i knew when i only had an inch of space left, and so parallel parking for me was a breeze. and like how i knew exactly how far i could push it when weaving in and out of traffic, or if i was speeding (which i did quite frequently). and despite all of my crazy driving, i always felt like i was driving within the boundaries of what my car could handle. i never got into any car accidents, and i knew i would drive that car until the day it wouldn’t run anymore.
that day happened on december 6, 2014.
david was in new york city visiting some friends and to see one of his pieces being performed. i was going shopping to find a dress to wear to the company christmas party that night. as i rounded a curve on the on-ramp to get onto the highway, my car’s rear wheels slid, i overcompensated (i think), and the next thing i knew, the driver’s side of my car was on the ground, and then i was upside-down, hanging from my seatbelt while my car slowly slid to a stop. i was not driving fast, perhaps 15-20MPH at most, but the ground was wet, and my tires, while not bald, were a bit less than optimal.
as soon as the car stopped, my first thought was “am i okay?” after i assessed that i was, i knew i needed to get myself right-side up and out of the car. after bracing myself on the ceiling of the car (now the floor), i unlatched the seatbelt and fell against the door. i opened the car door and (very ungracefully, i might add), unfolded myself from the driver’s seat, accepting hands from a couple of the bystanders that stopped to help. the police were called, as was the tow truck, i opted out of having an ambulance come check me out since i had no broken bones and not even a scratch. a bit of a sore shoulder where i braced myself for landing on the driver’s side of the car, but that was the only physical issues i had as result of the accident. and then my poor car was hauled away to the auction lot to await its fate.
today, david and i headed to the auction lot to empty the car of the remainder of my belongings. most everything was basic car items like jumper cables, windshield wiper fluid, and whatnot. as we walked away, i realized that it would be the last time i would ever see my little roller skate, and i was incredibly sad. i felt like our adventures were cut short, and i also felt awful that i had been part of the reason for it. it feels really strange to grieve for a car. it’s an inanimate object, and although one could say cars have “personality,” really that’s the result of our ascribing personality to it. so my grief, i suppose, is for what my car symbolized for me in purchasing it, and for the memories that i would have whenever i drove it. it kept me safe in all my adventures, up until the very end. and because i took care of it, it was in really good condition prior to the accident, and so in one last move, it’s taking care of me with a significant total loss payout from the insurance company. who knows? it may even be enough to buy another scion xA.