It was ironic that in my last post, before I left town for the last of my long, summer get-aways, I mentioned the fear of breaking down with the scooter because before it was time for me to make my way back East to the valley I had misgivings as to whether or not my Neon was going to make the return trip. Its little transmission had been sputtering to some degree since school got out in mid June, but when it started groaning whenever the gas pedal was applied, that old blinking light in the back of the brain started flashing. I could probably sink a few hundreds or better into it to fix the tranny and manifold, but I had it for nine of its 13 years and it served me very well. Perhaps it was time to let it retire.
Here I am the day I pulled the Neon up to the curb for the very first time when I brought it home in April of 2002. It was the only car I'd owned in my entire life that didn't have somebody else's name on the title too.
Tomorrow at around 9 AM I'll trade in the Neon and pick up an Impala. I know there will be some tears shed before I crank over the engine in the Neon for the last time. I emptied it out this afternoon and it felt like I was deserting an old friend. I went to many special places in this car, and to many memorable events. I transported those most dear to me in it time and time again. It felt like an extension of my own self when I got behind the wheel, and on those occasions when somebody else needed to run it, I held my breath most times until it was back, safe in its usual parking spot on the street.
I'm sure there will be some rejoicing when I get behind the wheel of the Impala and point it in this direction tomorrow morning. I'll feel like a kid with a new toy the whole way back to the house. But, I know just as certainly that when I'm leaving the car lot with it, I'll be looking behind for one last glance at my beloved Neon as I leave it behind.
I'll hope somebody will buy it and fix it and run it for a few good years, but if that won't be the case I'd rather not know that it made its last good run ever on Sunday.
Nine years later, and I think the car looks less worn from the ride than I do.