It’s one of those rites of passage in growing up, isn’t it? Your first car purchased entirely on your own with zero parental involvement. Plenty of kids are forced to hit that milestone in their teens, but I was lucky enough to get old Murray (as I called my old, grey ‘99 Toyota Corolla) for free from my folks when I graduated. We had adventures. All kinds of good times, really, but when I got back home from Christmas last year it was time to say goodbye (look, I know I “technically” got my car in 2011, but it was the 30th and that’s close enough!).
My new ride is a sleek, black Mazda3 named LeChuck. He is everything that Murray was not. Power everything, sunroof, a powerful engine…I used to feel bogged down when I ran the a/c in my Corolla. Now my engine has some real pop. I honestly have zero regrets with this car and that’s a rarity for a big ticket purchase, you know?
I guess until I buy a house or get married, that’s kind of the biggest thing I’ve done since I graduated and got a job. It was the last big tie to home and certainly a huge tie to the Daniel I was before 2012. That car was ratty, but reliable. Now I try to be a little flashier, a little more mature. Where I let maintenance milestones just whiz on by in the Corolla I’m on top of my game with the Mazda.
In the first year of ownership I put about 23,000 miles down on the odometer. LeChuck and I went to Ithaca for a beautiful wedding. We went to Pittsburgh to see the beautiful PNC Park. Our travels took us out to Lehigh Valley, PA and Boone, NC. There were countless trips to York, PA to visit Tiffany and a trip up to New York to watch the Big Red after she broke my heart.
Some people don’t like road trips or driving. I’m no gear head, but it’s really my preferred method of travel within a reasonable distance. Being on the road gives me time to think about where I am and where I want to be (not literally) or listen to podcasts and music. I’ve had long, meaningful conversations with friends that I rarely get the chance to have in person. I’ve sat in silence as my passengers slept or did their own things. I’ve had arguments and stewed passive-aggressively. It goes without saying, but none of that is possible without LeChuck. Some look at their cars as a means of conveyance or a tool, but I look at it as a staunch ally that gets me where I need to go. Look, I know that sounds dumb, but I love my car, man. Cut me some slack.
(Picture by Harvey-Harv)