February 27, 2004

requiem for a car

goodbye car

This is the car we bought when we moved to Los Angeles. We drove a rusty Rent-a-Wreck behemoth to a small Silver Lake apartment complex, went down to the garage to see this dark blue hatchback named Louie. The couple were our age, which means they were in their twenties too. They were moving from Los Angeles to New York. It was as if they were our doppelgangers, switching lives with us. We took their car, they took off into our past.

This is the car we bought because it was reminiscent of my fatherís dark blue Camry station wagon which was the car I learned to drive on and so this little Corolla was a comforting reminder of our far away home.

This is the car I learned to drive stick on, grinding the gears as I drove up a short ramp and back down again, stalling out as I wove through parked cars in a half-deserted lot, Dan mostly patient, more so than I would have been, until I finally got the hang of it.

This is the car I drove to get my first driverís license. Hands on the wheel, eyes straight ahead, pretend the official test person in the passenger seat is a nice person who wants to see me do well. Walk out of the car. Find out the tester actually is a nice person. Obtain the piece of paper that allows me to drive in this city of wheels.

This is the car I drove home the night of my first day-long assistant editing gig in this new city. Drove all the way to the apartment before I realized Iíd forgotten to turn on the headlights. Good thing it wasnít far.

This is the car I was driving when I had my first accident, when a motorcycle slammed into the passenger side door. The cyclist was high on pot, didnít account for my fearful beginner slow-as-molasses turning style. We brought him into our apartment, gave him some ice for his head and a glass of water. We had the huge dent in the door fixed a month later.

This is the car I shared with Dan for the first nine months we lived here, coordinating schedules, drop offs and pick-ups Ė just like having a kid in school, come to think of it.

This is the car we drove up the coast the first time we went to Santa Barbara, to Big Sur, to San Francisco. I have photos of this car against stunning backdrops. The small blue Toyota. The little engine that could.

This is the car I walked to every night as I left my assistant editing job on the Fox lot. I would get inside, turn on the defrost and wait for the dew and mist to dissolve. In the dark in an isolated parking area on a quiet studio lot. In this car.

This is the car Dan began driving to work every day after I finally got over my fear of driving a different car from the one I learned on (ie: our also-old burgundy Accord). This is, therefore, the car Damian always referred to as "Daddy's car." It was the subject of his first three word sentence, at eighteen months: "Dadda go car," as Daddy pulled out of the driveway heading to the cutting room.

This is the car I said goodbye to yesterday. I handed the key to a man who got inside, drove it across the street, and hooked it up to a tow truck. It will be auctioned off within the month, the proceeds to go to a womenís assistance organization. Iíve already gotten a thank-you letter from the charity. The money will mean a lot to them, more than it would to a larger organization.

This is the car that encompassed most of my Ė of our Ė adult lives, that marked the transition to life in Los Angeles. My first car. Itís no longer ours. Watching it go felt like the end of an epoch, like the marker ring on a tree. That time is over, a new time is beginning.

This is that car.

Goodbye, sweet blue Corolla.

Posted by Tamar at February 27, 2004 11:40 PM