When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Faithful Car, Sam

Yes, I am one of "those" people who name inanimate objects. Usually it happens when I am frustrated with said object or extremely grateful for the object. In the case of Sam, however, I was on my way to work (very different job from what I'm doing now) before 7am and it just struck me that my car felt like its name was Sam. Sometimes Sam is female in nature, sometimes it's male. It doesn't really matter, truth be told. Sam seems to fit it very well.

The main reason I am posting this second entry for the week [don't expect it, as I'm surprised I can keep up with one post a week at the moment] is that it is time to say "Good bye" to Sam. We are trading him/her in for a new car for my husband. I get his current car, which my daughter and I have finally dubbed Joe (another unisex name, of course). It's a little hard on my daughter right now. She has known Sam literally all her life. We got him [please forgive me if I switch gender terms; I get tired of "it" and Sam is androgynous] less than 2 months before our daughter was born. While Sam did not get nearly as much wear and tear as the average car my mom drove--Mom does not like flying and she has kids on both coasts now, so she tends to drive A LOT--he has certainly been there for us in many situations. The farthest we've driven her is to New York (Long Island area) from Melbourne (Orlando area) and back. She's also taken a few trips from one end of Florida (the panhandle) to the other (down by West Palm). She's never broken down and I've only had 2 (maybe 3) flats with her, as far as I can remember. There was one instance in which I drove Sam on worn brakes to the point that they literally fell off, but he was back with us within 24 hours. When my husband was in his car accident in 2007 (that was a hand-me-down mini van we did not have long enough to name), Sam faithfully chauffeured everyone to work and school and everywhere in between until we procured Joe. I have pushed Sam many times, sometimes out of ignorance or a busy schedule, sometimes because I needed to wait another week (or another month) before my paycheck was enough to get his oil changed and/or rotate his tires. Any time gas prices rose more than 7 cents I would wonder how long I could run Sam with the windows down and no A/C in order to stretch my gas budget for the month. And Sam kept chugging along. As I said, she never broke down on me. She always seemed to have at least enough fuel to make it to a preferred gas station. I was only in 1.5 fender benders with her. The first one was reported, but the other guy's vehicle suffered damage while Sam was untouched because he bumped into the spare tire on the back. The 1/2 was a quick incident in which a mom behind me wasn't paying attention as we were driving out of the drop-off lane at my daughter's school and didn't hit her brakes in time after I stopped at the stop sign. That was a no-harm-no-foul incident that didn't get reported because I didn't see the need to do so.

Just some of the many things that rode in Sam
When we lived in Melbourne, Florida, Sam was the only car we had. I was working two jobs (at 3 sites), eventually three (at 4 sites), while my husband finished up his master's degree. Since our apartment was across the street from the college and my jobs were 45 to 90 minutes away, depending on the campus at which I was teaching on any given day, Sam became "my" car. He was originally purchased with my husband in mind. My husband is a full foot taller than me, so the car had to have plenty of leg and head room. However, I found that I didn't need to adjust too much for me to fit in Sam. The more I drove her, the more we tended to synch together. She suffered through my temper tantrums--my road rage never got to the homicidal level, but it did lead to a lot of "colorful" language--and my lead foot. She handled my impulsive turns and my quick braking. There were times when minor things malfunctioned. I went a week or two without air conditioning and power windows & door locks because of some weird electrical issue. The inside light in the middle of the roof has been out for at least 6 years. The CD player didn't always work, but that's what my tape (yes, Sam has a cassette deck!) adapter for the iPod is for. Yet, nothing major ever let us down--no engine or transmission failure and IF we ever had a dead battery, it was only once, though there were some close calls.

Sam, our 2002 silver Honda CR-V EX, has seen numerous soccer and softball games and practices. She's brought gifts to many birthday parties and visited friends. She's brought home many gifts and hauled home many purchases. She's carried countless donations and even a few unexpected passengers, inside and out (a lot of frogs and lizards have taken short rides over the years). She's held our daughter in safety and sleeping comfort after a long day of school, work and activities or a long trip to visit friends a couple hours away. Sam has heard hours of singing--good and bad--and absorbed years of memories. He has witnessed many temper tantrums, suffered slammed doors and over-stuffed spaces. He's provided a quiet place for mother-daughter after school talks. He's given me a great place to catch a nap (while parked, of course) during dance classes or practices. Sam has seen my daughter grow from a baby into a young girl who can no longer stand up in his trunk space, even though she still enjoys climbing in back there.

On one level, I know that Sam is "just a machine" and it was inevitable that we should trade her in. I am glad that we can trade her in before she does fall apart. However, on the other hand, Sam has been with us for a very long time. He is one of only a few things that we have had since our daughter was a baby. Sam was (and still is) a very reliable part of our quirky family. We will miss him and I pray that whoever owns her next will come to appreciate Sam as much as we have.
Goodbye, faithful & reliable Sam! You were much appreciated and you will be missed.

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