On my way to work this morning, I hit 40,000 miles on my car. That's not too bad considering I have had it since January 2005. It made me a little sad I couldn't share this with James and I thought that was a bit silly. It's just a car and it's not even really that major of a milestone. The more I thought about it, I realized the sadness comes from knowing that with every mile I put on the car, I am one mile closer to someday needing a new car and having to go buy it for the first time in my adult life alone. That is not something I am looking forward to.
When I met James, I had a 1993 Toyota Tercel and he had a little "death trap," also known as the 1989 Honda CRX. Neither car was in pristine shape so whoever got home first got to park in the carport.
In November 2000, we found out my Tercel needed a new engine. I was devastated. I loved my little car. I knew I wanted it the first time I saw it the night one of my best guy friends and I went out for ice cream and there it was in the lot next to Baskin-Robbins. He came with me to help with the negotiations, and the test drive and to ask all the questions guys just know to ask. It was the first non-junker I owned. It was my first car loan, and I paid the entire loan myself. I bought it shortly before I graduated from college; to me, it represented my first real "grown-up" purchase and I hated to see it go. But at this point the service department knew me quite well and James asked even if I got a new engine if I would feel safe driving the car across the bridge everyday. I said "no," and we began the search for a new car.
My plan had been to graduate from the Tercel to the Corolla and eventually to the Camry. I test drove the Corolla and hated it. I ended up buying a 2001 Honda Civic, which meant we were both driving Hondas. This was Thanksgiving weekend and I was so sick. The finance guy was not very nice to me and I ended up in tears. We almost walked out at this point, but we finalized the deal. When I went to the doctor the following Tuesday, I had bronchitis so bad my doctor said if I didn't show improvement in 24 hours, she was admitting me to the hospital, that's how sick I was. Because I now had a brand new car, I got to park in the carport. I also ended up with a very nice pair of pearl earrings to help ease the trauma of this experience.
In February 2001, around Valentine's Day, James decided to trade-in the CRX and ended up with a 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse. I remember this because they called on Valentine's Day to say the financing hadn't gone through (this dealership is notorious for this) and James happened to be home sick. So, after I got off work, I took a feverish James to get his CRX back. In the end, James kept the Eclipse and they worked out a new loan with a payment that was $100/month less than the loan they "couldn't" finance. Even though his car was used, we went back to whoever got home first got the carport, which usually was not me. (It was not my idea to go back to this way of doing things). A few months later, we bought the house and both parked in the garage, which solved that once and for all.
At the end of 2004, James decided he was tired of driving a stick shift. The freeways in the Phoenix area get congested quickly, and he was tired of the constant shifting on his way home. Plus, I forgot how to drive a stick ages ago, so if there was an emergency and we were in his car, he was pretty much screwed. So, one weekend we set out to find a new car for him and I swear we went to every dealership in the Phoenix area. He test drove 17 cars. Some he had no intention of buying; he drove them simply because he could. And he didn't buy a car.
One of the cars he test drove was the 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. It wasn't what he wanted, but he thought I would like it, so I gave it a spin and I loved it. I wasn't in the market for a car at the time, but I kept feeling like the Civic wasn't going to stop when I hit the brakes. I did need new brakes, but after a couple of weeks, the feeling came back. So, in January 2005, I traded it in for the Lancer. And once again, we were driving cars by the same manufacturer until James traded in the Eclipse for an Acura. It turns out that wasn't really what he wanted either and about a year later, he finally found the car that had everything he wanted: a 2006 BMW 325, which was actually a lot more affordable than we thought it would be.
So now I have a car I absolutely love even though it has no bells and whistles, and a car he absolutely loved with all the bells and whistles and I drive the Lancer. People think I am nuts for driving a Lancer when I have a BMW, but I love my little car. For me, a car has always been nothing more than a means to get from point A to point B, but this one is so fun to drive. And I love that in a way, James picked it out for me. I am also a little afraid to drive the BMW (which currently has a dead battery anyway)-I don't want to "hurt" it. Plus, James died in that car. I can't seem to part with it though and I know I need to get it running and drive it around. I think he would really like it if I did.