Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Ode To My Jetta

Dear Jetta,
When I came and picked you out back in April 2004, I was newly pregnant and searching for a safe, reliable, Mom-ish vehicle. You fit the bill with your airbags galore and space for a giant stroller (you were a station wagon, after all). You were two years old, and a little careworn, but that was okay with me. I love Volkswagens and was happy to own my first one. I had good memories of Volkswagens. My Dad had a Thing for a while when I was young, and my Mom drove a Vanagon for many years. It was the vehicle of my childhood. And I was buying you for my child.

A few short months after buying you, I entrusted you with the task of bringing home my daughter from the hospital. You did a great job. You traveled from California to North Carolina. You had diapers changed in the back of you, you were barfed on, and you were cried in. The Army Man subjected you to the torture that is a Missouri winter last year, and you did wonderfully. You folded down your seats and let us stuff so much stuff in you that we almost couldn’t close your doors. You never once broke down or left me stranded, and the only flat tire you ever got was while the Army Man was driving you. I really appreciate that. You had so much food spilled in you it’s ridiculous. Somewhere along the line I drove through something sticky and never could get it off the side. But you never complained. You just kept chugging along, giving me great gas mileage and a dependable car.

Last month, when the Army Man got his truck, we gambled on you and kept you while we traded in our much newer Saturn. It turns out that was the wrong thing to do. There was no way for us to know that you would last just a little over a month, and would soon require so many repairs (airbag and struts, to name a few) that the bill would total more than you were worth. But I don’t blame you, and I’m not mad. I felt more loyal to you than the Saturn anyway. I may have complained the entire time I drove you from December until yesterday (you really did smell, sorry to say) but it was nice to be driving you again. It was like a riding a bike, so easy and effortless slipping back into the driver’s seat and knowing all your quirks. Like how you would slam back into gear after a sudden brake. That was always fun. Or how you would magically lock yourself at odd times, such as when I had an armful of stuff or had left the keys in the ignition. And I can't forget the temperature gauge coming on every single time it was cold, with you begging for more antifreeze.

So yesterday we sold you. I’m sorry. I’m even sorrier because I think you are too broken down to be resold locally. I think you are going to auction. You need lots of repairs and you have almost 94,000 miles on you. I’m sad that Laura won’t remember you and I’m sad that I complained about you when you were such a good car. I’m also really, really, really sad to have two car payments now. But in your honor, I picked out another Volkswagen. It’s even the same color as you!

Some people may laugh that I am choked up at your departure, but I don’t care. We’re nostalgic about cars in my family. They are more than just a mode of transportation to us. They reflect our personality, and take on personalities of their own (but we never name them; that would be weird!) When the past is recalled, we always remember which car we were driving at that stage of our life. So I’ll always remember you as the car I bought when I became a Mommy, the car that moved across country with me, the car that kept my most precious cargo safe. Thank you.


PS. Readers, we bought a VW Tiguan. It is barely used with a whopping 3,700 miles on it. It is a smallish SUV, my first ever non-car car (except my Dad’s Suzuki Samurai that I drove in high school, but that was in a class all of it’s own). I have to admit I feel oddly grown up now. The Army Man (whose idea it was to get rid of the Jetta, but not to buy this car [so I am never allowed to complain or blame him in any way]) tells me I will be driving it for a while. I hope it will be as reliable as the Jetta was. PPS. If there is anyone in California who feels so moved, I need a new Jack Ball. The current one isn't looking so good. Please also send a Spicy Chicken Sandwich with no tomatoes.


Patty said...

Love the new car/suv, you deserve it! I can't wait to come for a visit and take a ride with my grandaughter.

Bee and Rose said...

A lovely tribute! My husband actually does name every car we've ever had! Right now he's driving "Christine" a black Dodge Ram and I have "the crow" a black Durango! Love your new ride!

Nata said...

There are 28 Jack in the Box locations in NC (I know this because I was puzzled as to why I was seeing the commercials when I was visiting my mom). Mainly in the Charlotte area. Granted, that's a 3 hour drive, but--it's an option if you are REALLY jonesing :o)

I would gladly trade you Jack in The Box for Bojangles or Chick-fil-A. (I have to drive 45 minutes for the latter).

Older and Wiser said...

Your tribute brings a tear to my eye. I hope your new car is as faithful as the old one. Was driving the Samauri a horrible experience?

Claire said...

Patty-We're ready anytime you want to visit! Laura would love to show off "her" new car to you!

Bee-Love the names for your cars! I've never named any of mine since I'm not that creative :)

Nata-I know, we've been to Charlotte once and our very first stop was Jack In The Box (the Army Man spilled a giant Coke in the car that day, if I recall). Yum! We do love our Chick-fil-A!

Older-The Samurai was not bad to drive, just interesting. I said it was in a class by itself because I didn't know how to label it-car/truck/jeep/SUV/box on wheels, etc. It is a class unto itself.

Kim said...

I loved riding in that Samurai with you, especially because of the shovel. And when we almost went backwards while selling yearbook ads? Good times.

Claire said...

Sadly the almost going backwards was due to driver inexperience. I'll never make that mistake again while driving a stick.

That was fun though, especially all the screaming it elicited.

Martha said...

We have a Jack in the Box nearby and I will be delighted to get you one and mail it out. I am very attached to my beat up minivan, so I am totally with you on the sentimental car tribute.

Its Me(SARA) Behind the Camera said...

:) cute post!

and I heart your new ride! very cute! :) Congrats!

RandomWonders said...

I'm very sentimental about my cars...I cried after crashing my Volvo..not just because of the crash but because I had named her Lady V.

Beautiful new car!!

Rachael said...

i wish i could send you a jack head--i long for their banana chocolate milkshakes. :)