Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goodbye old car, you've seen me through a lot

Lately the VW Cabrio I've had for 11½ years has been showing its age. The strip on the driver-side door (which I glued on about 7 years ago) peeled off (leaving a glue residue that would make it quite difficult to re-attach). The paint has been peeling off the hood. A friend accidentally backed into it behind the passenger door, leaving an ugly dent. And the rear bumper started sticking out from where it wraps around to the sides.

Mechanically it's been a great car. I believe I've only had to pay for three repairs, and if I recall correctly they were all under $50.

But it's old enough that it didn't make sense to put money into cosmetic repairs, and a two-door is just not practical with kids. So I decided it's time for a new car. And since I buy new cars pretty rarely, I was picky. That's a separate story, but I ended up placing an order for a Mercury Milan Hybrid, which I expect in about three weeks.

I decided to donate the Cabrio to KQED. I didn't like the idea of selling it in it's condition, and I doubt I would get much for it as a trade-in. I thought I'd show my appreciation to KQED and PBS for all the great programming I (and especially the kids) have enjoyed for years.

So it was not unexpected, but a little inconvenient when the Cabrio's clutch broke Tuesday. The repair would have cost just about $400, which I didn't want to pay to keep driving it for just a few weeks. Thankfully a friend offered to loan me her second car.

So I called KQED, and just handed the keys to a tow-truck driver for an auction company assigned by them pick it up. They make it very easy.

I felt fine seeing it go, though I did feel a little melancholy on Tuesday when I cleaned out all my stuff. I'm not sentimental about it, and it's been a while since I've enjoyed driving it or felt proud of it. But I have had it a long time.

Thinking back, I realized I had it for over ¼ of my life, and well more than ⅓ of my driving years. I bought it at the start of a new chapter of my life. I had just moved back to the Bay Area from New York City to work for a start-up. In the 11½ years since then I:
  • found an apartment in San Francisco
  • commuted from there to San Mateo
  • helped create two electronic toys
  • met Claire (who became my wife), and moved to San Jose
  • worked for LEGO (in San Mateo, with several trips to Denmark)
  • married, and honeymooned in Greece and Turkey
  • worked for Palm (in Santa Clara)
  • bought a house in Campbell
  • saw the birth of my daughter, now 7
  • worked for Altera (in Santa Cruz)
  • bought our current house in Scotts Valley
  • saw the birth of two sons, now 6 and 4
  • worked for VMware
  • worked for Netflix
In other words, I've seen more excitement and change in my life since I bought this car than in any other time of my life.

May my new car last long enough to be associated with half as many happy memories.


pyDanny said...

Sounds like you are losing a loved pet. We'll toast your car when we meet again in April. Drink will be on me!

yacitus said...

I actually didn't want it to sound like that. I try not to get too attached to my possessions. There's no grieving or feeling of loss. But I do feel a sense of transition.

Not that I won't gladly join you in a toast. I'm looking forward to seeing you again Danny.