Good Night, Sweet Prince

June 21, 2008 at 4:32 AM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  …Ah….sigh….the end of an era…
  I really don’t know if I can do it again.  I can’t do that, I can’t get attached like that.  It just hurts too much.  It wasn’t something I was expecting to deal with–
  What are the stages of grief?  Denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and then financing?
  My buddy Nigel is gone.  It had to be done, sooner or later.  Nothing last forever, especially a 17 year old car with over 200 thousand miles.  Shit.  I feel like…I feel like I had to put my dog down.
  Memories…
  When I first drove him, he was loud and small and cramped.  But quick and sporty, and gripped the road with love, like when you grab a lover’s ass and smack it as you ride, Sally, ride.  I didn’t think twice, I just bought him.
  When my ex first saw him, she was pissed.  Typical, and it made me like him even more.
  We enjoyed spending time together, until our brief falling out.  It happens.  I was stranded on the side of the road when the wheel came off.  I blame myself.  After that, it took six months before I could get him going again.  What a joyful reunion that was.
  It was always a chore to mount and dismount.  Especially funny when I started delivering in him.  But oh, the joy of the drive!  Sharp curves and winding roads were like tossing a frisbee to him.  Driving in the cool, clear evening with the windows down and the sunroof open, stereo on–
  It was bliss.
  Detroit was smitten with him as well, and lamented how seldom she got to take him out to play.  But he was mine.  I’ve had some work done on him, for him.  Things you do for a friend.  Last fall, during his prime, we drove him to Michigan and back.
  That might have been his undoing.  Not the trip, but the weight in the car.  His alignment was never the same after that.  He rode with a limp.  This year, the noise came back–was it yet another bearing?  I had changed 3 of them.  One of them I changed twice.  Maybe–but he was getting loud in the exhaust.  I had to turn the radio up louder and louder.
  I had always gotten looks, and I didn’t care.  I would just say, "Thirty-six miles to the gallon, bitches!" and drive off.  But it was becoming clear that Nige was going through some dementia.  Not as quick as he was, not as responsive.  The noise was a symptom, but there were other problems as well.  The sunroof opened, but not very well.  The seatbelt no longer worked–dangerous in a tiny car.  There was oil in the floor of the backseat of unknown origin.  The trunk wouldn’t open.  When it did, it wouldn’t close.  Water filled the indention for the spare tire.  The tired engine was beginning to show signs of wear, and enter a realm from which there was no turning back.
  He tried.  Lord knows he tried.

  *"As we walk down a country lane
   "I’m singing a song, hear me callin your name–"*
  Nigel.

  As I said before, a few years ago…when the time comes, you have to be willing to shoot your own dog.
("Bron-y-aur Stomp.  Led Zeppelin, off III.  Listen to the words, it’s about a boy and his dog.)

**************New Text Document*************
  Because I don’t have a name for it, and I’m still not sure if, at this point, I want to name it.
  I bought a car.  I traded in my old one, my trusted old friend Nigel.  Part of me is thinking, "How can I do this, how can I betray my good friend?"  The other part of me is thinking, "How in the flying fuck did I buy a Mercedes?"
  It happened so quickly.  We had been looking at cars and SUVs, and I knew that this summer I would buy a car.  I had come to accept that I would have to trade Nigel in–17 in dog years is 119.
  I stopped by a used car dealer on a whim.  I wanted to see what they had, because we had been looking at new cars.  And I wanted to see how well I fit in a car, because I had been looking at SUVs and the like.  Could I easily get in and out of a car?  I had become so used to climbing in and out of Nigel that I associated that hassle with all cars.
  So, one thing leads to another, and suddenly I’m test driving a Mercedes.  How can I afford this?  Well, it is ten years old.  Eighty thousand miles–that’s about 8000 per year.  Hell, I can do 8k in a matter of a few months.  Power everything, accessories and gadgets that I never would have dreamed of, and a solid, well-heeled feel.  Seductress.  What do you call a seductress in my price range?  A tramp.
  I tell Detroit about it, and she wants to see it.  First I do the smart thing, and research the vessel online.  It’s a Mercedes, for chrissakes.  Dependable, reliable, solid, sporty, luxury, blah, blah, blah.  We drive it again.  Before I know it, I’m signing papers and cleaning out my old car.  I sense that Nigel feels betrayed.  But he can take comfort in the fact that it took a Mercedes to replace him.  Nothing else would do.  Maybe a Porsche.
  But still, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing driving a Mercedes-Benz.  I feel like someone is going to stop me and make me get out.  I don’t belong
here.
  Maybe I will name it, but I maintain that, unlike ships, it is unlucky to give a car a woman’s name.  Something will happen to it…every 28 days.  But, this is a Merc, and reliability is just one of the things that come with it.  Some of the other things that come with it are a specialty diet of certain oils, fluids, and fuels.  I guess I can buy the need for premium unleaded.  The fact that gas is so high makes it easier, not harder.  When gas was 99 cents, premium was 1.25–you want me to pay what for high-grade?  Fuck that.  But now regular is 4 bones, and premo is a buck 4.20.  Not much difference.
  But special MB wiper fluid?  Get the fuck out.  There are Mercedes-Benz clubs out there, but I’m looking for the support group.
  Of course, I’m still working at Domino’s.  Not going to drive the Bender at Domino’s.  But I’ve got the truck.  Probably a good idea to get back in touch with my…..truckulinity.  He (Fred) needs a tune up and an oil change.  Plus, I’m sure we need to spend some time together, re-bond, especially since Nigel is gone.

  The Bender?  Hmmm…..

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