Last night, I lost a friend.
I’d known them for just over 6 years, we’d been through a lot – laughs, tears, joy, anger, thrilling highs and crippling lows. I’d showered them in gifts, the only thing I ever got in return was a smile on my face and the occasional skinned knuckle, we shared victories and defeats alike, and it saved me from some dark times.
This friend wasn’t human though – nor was it alive; the friend was my car. To the majority of my friends and/or readers who can’t understand the unspoken bond between man and machine, this appears almost nonsensical. It’s fine if you don’t understand; to you a car may be just a tool, a method of getting to work, to the shops or to generate income. For me it was something different, it always has been.
I grew up without many friends, and the ones I did have were fairly close, I treasured my childhood soft toy well into my adulthood, it serves as a reminder to me that material possessions can be more than just that. It’s fine if you don’t understand, I’ve fought my whole adult life to justify an obsession with everything automotive; why I should spend so much on them, why I should I want a certain type of car, or more recently – why should I ride a motorcycle.
I’ve always been told to do what makes me happy, sadly for someone who is predisposed to be unhappy, this is a hard task for me. No amount of Lexapro or Effexor could possibly offer me the anti-depressant qualities of the bond I had with my car. So as a cruel paradox the exact situation that actually makes me happy, in turn makes others unhappy, as the general perception is that any money spent on a car is automatically wasted.
From an analytical point of view, I agree, a car rarely appreciates in value, and modifications don’t necessarily guarantee any increase in value either. But can happiness be quantified? Some of the happiest days of my adult life have been with less than $100 in my savings account, having to scrounge together entry money for the sprint events or for a tank of fuel, just so I could race. Just me and the car, all that money spent was somehow worthwhile.
Begrudgingly, through lack of use and excessive modification rendering the car difficult to drive in city conditions, I decided to sell. I barely got what I wanted for it, and I feel as if I’ve betrayed it, and myself. Where do I go from here? Could I possibly replace it? Reading back what I’m writing seems akin to losing a pet animal or friend, and as odd as it may sound to you, that’s honestly how I feel.
Of course, the natural progression of things will result in me replacing it, but I doubt I’ll start the cycle again, any acquisition from this point will be but a grain of rice beside what my friend meant to me.
At the risk of sounding like a Mastercard commercial, you can give a car a monetary value, but the happiness I experienced from the bond I had with mine was priceless.
Goodbye old friend.
Originally titled “Sayonara” on Greenspeed.