February 06, 2012

The Green Lightning.

The very first car that I drove as my own was a bright red, 77 Ford Thunderbird. I have just moved to North Carolina and barely had my license for a year, when I got the privilege to borrow this large wagon for my very own use. I was initially terrified at the mere prospect of sitting behind its wheel, but very quickly grew to love this old American legend.

After it was retired to my friends driveway, I bought my very first own car. It was a red Nissan Sentra with a few years on its back. Today I still have the old North Carolina license plate, which until very recently hang on the wall in my basement and now is tucked away somewhere in a box in storage. It stated "First In Flight" and the last sticker on it was from 99, the year I moved back to Europe.


When I relocated to Denmark, I bought my very first new car. A Toyota Yaris. I can still recall the incredible excitement when I drove it out of the car dealership and onto the road, as it was a beginning to a new life.

A car symbolizes so much and is such an important part of our life. My father can recall all the cars he has ever owned and the memories evoke a plethora of sentiments, as he travels in his mind all the way back to the early sixties and lists them one by one. They all have a place in his heart and all a story or two to tell.

Indeed, a car is often a necessity, at times a luxury but ultimately a possession that we bond with in an uncanny way as it is in our life for extended period of time. Over the years my green Toyota became my friend and recently it even received a nickname; The Green Lightning, as its tiny engine has been pushed to the limit in the past many months, while traveling at high speeds for hundred of miles each day, through any kind of weather.

It has served me well, bringing me safely to many destinations, whether in Denmark or abroad. It has been running smoothly, never letting me down, sparing me major repairs and trips to the mechanic. It has seen me through thick and thin, watched many passengers seated next to me, anything from family members to old friends, fleeting acquaintances, colleagues and boyfriends. It has help me move and transport all my possessions on numerous occasions and today it simply carries on its back more than a decade of my personal history.

Thus it was with a heavy heart that I was recently forced to realize that it's time with me has been concluded.
I had to face the fact that it's technology was outdated, it's power weakened and the heavy commute has begun to leave it's mark. Although fuel efficient at low speeds, it is unbelievably uneconomical at high speeds and it has been draining my wallet and my energy for the past eight months.

I never realized that it would be so difficult to part with a car.
Driving it over to the car dealer this past weekend, the exchange was made and we were presented with a shinning new Polo with state of the art technology and modern look. Gazing at my old friend for the last time, I felt a wave of grief enveloping me and struggled to hold back the tears that filled my eyes all of a sudden. Just like when I left my white house on the hill, there were mixed emotions of happiness over something novel and exciting, but also sadness over saying farewell to something very dear, a presence that has been vital and beneficial in my life for so long.

As I contemplated the wish and hope that after a quick make over it might still serve very well to someone new, I was handed the keys to my new car. Gazing at its shiny hood, I could not help but feel that it was smiling at me.
Thus I knew this was the beginning of a new, beautiful friendship.

26 comments :

Rahul Bhatia said...

Loved post about cars, Zuzana! This reminds me that in India we have a festival when people pray for their vehicles and factory workers their tools, as they are such an integral part of life:)

Lynne said...

Looks like the start of a beautiful friendship. Happy motoring.
Thank you for your lovely comment.

Sandy said...

We do get attached to our cars. i bought a Chevy Nova to our marriage and we ran that car into the ground. It had to be towed away at the end of its life - we got $35 for it. We bought our first Subaru in 1977 and the poor thing was so rusted out after 7 years it had holes all over it and we froze in it the last winter. It was stick shift and that was the last car we ever had that wasn't automatic. Hubby didn't think I drove stick shift correctly. I use to coast around curves in it rather than shifting as one should. LOL! We loved our jeeps too. We had so much fun driving our Jeep Wrangler. Now we have the big one ton Ford truck and another Subaru. Love the photo of you with your Green Lighting! You are so cute.

Elizabeth said...

Glad you arrived safely with your new wheels in the cold north. Strangely enough I don't have that much with cars but than I have to admit that I got my licence when I was in my 30's.
When you wrote Green lightning, I thought about Grease and the song were John Travolta was dancing on his car, hihi.

Brian Miller said...

nice...it is a very cute vehicle...and congrats on getting the new one...with as much driving as you used to do its no wonder you were attached...our cars are like the constant friend always there for the experiences...

Margie said...

Fun post Z! Only you could make your car history a lovely story. I like your new header with the "Z" necklace!

Slamdunk said...

Fun post Zuzana, and goodbye Green Lightning.

I bet you were way cool cruising in that T-bird though

Betsy said...

We do have a little love affair with our vehicles, don't we? I have fond memories of some of my favorites and was sad to see them go. Enjoy the new!

Cute snowy photo of you, too!

Zuzu said...

My dad tells the most wonderful stories about all the cars he's owned - I especially love the one about the car he & Mama rode in on their honeymoon. :)
Wishing you many happy new memories in your new, cute, little car!
Hugs,
Zuzu

Myrna R. said...

I only had one car that I grieved when I sold it. It was a Honda prelude, a sports car in which I got many speeding tickets. Oops, now you now my vice - speeding.

Hope you thoroughly enjoy your new car. I'm glad you'll be in a safe vehicle on your long commutes.

Kath said...

When Lewis was very small I had a slightly battered Citroen 2CV. I loved the way you could roll the top down and the funny gear shift. IT Was marvellous fun to drive and I was very sad to see it go. Since then I have not felt like that about any car.

Maggi said...

A lovely story of your cars, with a new chapter just starting. I could tell most of my story in the cars that I have loved.

InesMrs.Venus said...

Hi, Dear-

I am back after a long break, cause my Pc was broken and I had only the little netbook from my daughter- and it was awful for my eyes to read other blogs... not it´s wonderful again with big photos...

I love your Thunderbird- I am obsessed to old american cars. I am driving a Chrysler Stratus Cabriolet- before I had an old Jeep.

It´s a tragedy to give up a car- buying the next... it´s like leaving a good friend.

It´s so frosty here- I hope you feel good!

A big hug- Ines♥

Rowan said...

I know just what you mean about cars - all mine have been like friends and saying goodbye to them is always hard even when something shiny and new is waiting to take its place. I always keep my cars for several years so I become really attached to them. Enjoy your nice new Polo, my daughter has one and loves it.

Amanda said...

it's funny how we cancerians have trouble giving up old things - even cars - when they have sentimental value. i felt the same way about our old van which i drove my kids around in when they were little. memories linger everywhere......even in the green lightning! (love that name, by the way!)

have a wondrous week, dear zuzana♡

xoxo
amanda

A Lady's Life said...

Oh I know how attached you can get. My car is home away from home for me. Of course when you share it with a teenager who throws everything you put in out it kinda changes things.
You feel violated somehow lol
But I had my Pink Panther and my Yellow Canary two very special cars for me, amongst many.

Michael Manning said...

Hey, Zuzana: I have a motoring story going on at my place too. How fortuitous! It seems like you just obtained the green car. No? Just the same, I hope your new car brings you safe and happy driving!

xoxo! ;D

laoi gaul~williams said...

how lovely and sad too...i have always driven either citroen 2cv's or vw beetles and always felt so sad when i had to part from them. when we sold our beautiful vw bay window camper i was so upset i couldnt even watch him be driven away. i suppose it is the memories they hold...

Sandi McBride said...

Cars symbolize freedom, especially for women, I think...and I cried the day my first car was driven away by yet another girl who was looking for the open road as an answer to her prayers...I know you and your new baby will form a bond, it won't take long, lol!
hugs
Sandi

Angela Bell said...

My Dad was very sentiental about his cars and they always had names! I never learned to drive so your story is very interesting.Good ,safe driving dear Zuzana. lol Angela

Ruby said...

Our vehicles are always dear to us. Hope you have lots of fun with your new car.

LadyCat said...

Glad you bought a new car! Love the red Thunderbird : )
We name our cars too. We have the silver bullet and we just traded in the green hornet. Our new vehicle's color is mocha, so we call it chocolate thunder.

Susan Deborah said...

How possessive and dear possessions get to us. If it is so with inanimate stuff, I wonder about people. Both human and non-human possessions are priceless, I reckon and we do get a bit sentimental when are required to part from them but as always we get used very quickly to anything.

Congrats on your new car. May it take you to lovely places with lovely food a nd warmth, happiness and joy.

Joy always,
Susan

P. S: I have never owned/driven a car.

ed pilolla said...

i thought of each of my cars while reading. very fun. thanks.

SandyCarlson said...

Oh, fun! That Thunderbird made me smile. I remember those big autos!

And your plates. Hm. People in Carolina are proud of just about everything, I think. It's a good thing.

Erwin Calverley said...

Sometimes, people do have a hard time parting with the things they cherish the most, just like you and your car. You must have spent many a special time with ‘Green Lightning!’ Sometimes, though, you just have to let go. Sometimes holding on just isn’t worth it, especially if the repairs are taking their toll on your bank account. So what car did you get as a replacement for Green Lightning?


@Erwin Calverley