Dr. W's Space Travels
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2021-07-15 20:42:00 (UTC)

Space Cadet Says Goodbye to a Friend


To my dear 2001 Dodge Dakota,

Today is the day we parted ways. Seeing you out the window as I left brought me to tears. I’m so tempted to tell you I’m sorry for everything: for not taking good care of you, for letting you face innumerable repairs, for holding onto you for maybe just a little too long… but of course I know I should thank you instead. You were an amazing vehicle and we shared a lot of memories together. I’d like to take some time to recount them.

I bought you when I was 19 years old, during the summer of 2011. I was in the army at the time, living right on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. I remember when my leader took me out to car shop and I found you, you reminded me of the vehicle my dad owned during my childhood days. For the year you were built, you had few miles and were still inexpensive. I vaguely remember my test drive with you, and I liked the way you handled (is that the right way to put it?) Since then, I know you became no stranger to the repair shops and DIY repairs by other soldiers, but you were charming nonetheless. You helped me move many friends and family into homes thanks to your bed. You brought me from Kentucky all the way to Pennsylvania when I left the military. Fortunately, you never had any real accidents. I remember so many random things about you. Like when I was in Nashville for the Michael Jackson Immortal Cirque du Soleil production, and I couldn’t remember where I parked you. I also remember when you got towed while I was dating Amy, because I parked you somewhere I shouldn’t have parked you. That one still fills me with disdain considering Amy’s first reaction was to laugh about it… but whatever, I’m over it (mostly). Wow, there really are so many memories. You’ve taken me to the airport so many times so that I could travel throughout the country and the world. You brought me through snowy storms, torrential rain, and the serenest weather. It was you who brought me to places like Ardmore for meals at Maido, Somerville for days filled with adventure and fun, Lancaster for some random weekend excursion when I dated Amy, New York City for all the amazing anime conventions I attended… you were the companion that has logistically made so many of my fun times happen. You bridged the gap between my kid life and my adult life, and you witnessed me face some hard realities in one form or another. It’s a gross understatement to say that you were a significant part of my life.

I really do wish I would’ve taken better care of you, I think I could’ve done so much better as a car owner. I will do a better job with my new vehicle – my time owning you has made me realize the importance of that. I realize I never gave you a name, and it’s because I knew it would make the day that I gave you away that much harder. I’m breaking out into tears as I write this… because I remember thinking that even just a few years after I obtained you. But that was a time where I didn’t imagine that the future would actually come. That’s what we do as humans – we think we can hold onto the status quo. Something so far out as replacing the things we so recently acquire is barely on our minds. I remember thinking of how accomplished I felt when I got you. For years and years, I imagined us being together for the time that I could foresee. Giving you away was always something “way out in the distant future”. It’s like the pixel living that Tim Urban talks about – I imagined that day of giving you up as a pixel in my timeline of living, way out on the right end for when I’m a “seasoned adult”. I thought it would happen when I was “ready”, when I was “completely and mentally prepared” for it.

But things change. And sometimes change is inelegant. Right this moment, you’ve reminded me that this is a cold truth that I have to swallow. And it’s not just with letting go of you, but with anything in my life… including my life. Right now I still have so much family alive… which I’m so grateful for. Assuming though that I pass away from old age, I will have to witness many of them going. And in my immediate life, I’m sure I will see my own living space change, my friends change, my job change. And there will even be the day that my Chevy Spark, too, will pass the baton to another vehicle. It’s frustrating not to be able to hold onto things. Everyone deals with change differently, and I’ll never fully know how much it affects others… but I can’t help but feel that I’m especially sensitive to it. Familiarity is my comfort. And it doesn’t help that I anthropomorphize everything. I still, by the way, plan to watch The Brave Little Toaster. I just really, really hope you don’t get the “Worthless” fate…

Change is tough. But as I often say – there is beauty in transience. I’m reminded of all the amazing times I had with you, and my heart is filled with gratitude knowing that you were in my life. What a privilege it was to be your owner. I don’t care about how much I spent on repairs for you – I loved having you. And really, I do love you. And always will. To think that the last time I said these words to a thing was when I broke a glass that I had… wow, it really does show how much shifting occurs in my life. But I will hold these memories dearly, and I will let them live on through my diary, even to surpass my own existence (or one can hope, at least). I may continue to shed tears from time to time as you remain in my mind, and I guess that’s just natural for my standards… but I will do my best to hold my head up high and enjoy my new life with my new vehicle. It would be a disservice to both of you if I dwelled too much on the past.

So thank you. Thank you so, so much for 10 years. I will never forget you and will always love you.

From your previous owner,