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.
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I had to face the fact that it's technology was outdated, it's power weakened and the heavy commute has begun to leave it's mark.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.