After 10 years together, it was time to turn this baby girl in. We’d been together since college. Yes, my 2006 Volkswagen Jetta and I had put in some real miles together. Tracy Chapman (circa 1989) had been in the six-CD changer rotation since I took ownership. Winston’s hair had completely carpeted the floor to the point where a powerful vacuum was no match. The upholstery had started to peel off the ceiling in the back. The buttons of the radio were worn down and my leather seats had started to deteriorate at a rapid pace.
The outside of her had many scrapes and dents after years of distracted driving around unfamiliar cities, looking for gas rather than where I was going. Garbage cans stood no chance with this backup-cameraless car. The rear left fender was completely smashed in around the tail light. After I had the same accident with the same damage twice, I decided to leave it. That hole belonged to me, as a testament to my inability to go backwards. I had earned that hole. Twice.
My Jetta, while not flashy or speedy, was reliable, and she was all mine. I had paid her off early, and she was a source of stability through many years of financial risks. I crave freedom in my life, and this car gave me that, both monetarily and in the knowledge that I could take off down the interstate at any given time, and she would get me where I needed to go.
Perhaps it’s strange to write and ode to a car. But we were together for 10 years and 100,000 miles. Ten years of singing loudly, crying profusely while no one was watching, laughing uncontrollably, and so, so many conversations on speakerphone because Bluetooth was but a dream of the future when my girl was made. The driver’s seat was molded to my butt, and even as she declined in her later years, I still took great comfort in climbing behind the wheel and taking off on my next adventure.
There are a handful of things in life that I value above all others, and enjoying the journey is one of them. Not only did my Jetta feel like a friend to me, but she gave me comfort on my journey, both literally and figuratively. Now it’s time to start my next adventure with a new friend, a black Golf that may as well be my Jetta’s cousin. And if this Golf proves to be as reliable as she was, then I’m so excited to see where our journey takes us over the next decade.