Recently, my husband and I bought a new car for me to drive to work. I commute 40 minutes each way, and my trusty ‘ol ’03 Alero (which I lovingly dubbed “Conner”) was getting up there in the mileage department. My husband didn’t want to have to worry about me running down the car and risking that I’d end up stranded somewhere along 31, so we purchased a brand new vehicle, a first for the both of us. The process was terrifying. As my cousin said, it was time for me to “put on (my) big girl pants and get over it.” We ended up with a 2011 Chevy Malibu in the color “Mocha Steel” (sexy, I know).
It’s a beautiful car with incredible gas mileage and it’s brand new, which means no little quirks or issues to “get used to.” It has XM radio, lumbar support (who knew I even needed that), soft cloth seats, hands free blue-tooth calling from the radio system, and everything works perfectly. Yet, today, when I had to run an errand, I hopped into my Alero and immediately felt a wave of nostalgia wash over me.
Many, many, many, many different memories have been made in that car. Some I’d rather forget than remember, but still the majority of my experience with Conner had been incredible. The first thing I noticed was that Conner had a certain musty hadn’t-been-cleaned-in-God-knows-how-long kind of smell; a harsh comparison to the new-car smell of the Malibu. Yet, the smell was comforting, like coming home again. I turned the key, with a certain familiarity that was lacking from my morning routine with the remote start Malibu, and backed out the driveway. As soon as I turned the wheel, I felt like I was battling with Conner for something he didn’t want to do. The steering was stiff, awkward, had it been that way before? The gas pedal beneath my foot felt the same, even better than the Malibu actually, because the Alero is a 6 cylinder and the Malibu only has 4; not quite as much oomph as I had been used to. However, driving down the street and making a few more turns made me feel even more awkward in my beloved old car. I felt almost guilty for having lost the memory of driving him. By the end of running errands, the steering no longer felt stiff, but I still walked away from my parked Conner feeling as if I were walking away from an old friend who was dying, and who I’d been neglecting to spend time with. They say guys are crazy about their cars, and I never really understood that until today. I don’t know if it’s because Conner is the only car I’ve ever had until now, or because driving my new car scares me to death (I’m terrified of wrecking it), but I actually miss driving my old car. Alas, it’s out with the old and in with the new; but I still don’t feel quite right about it.