I named my car Vera.
I think it was almost 5 years ago that my old car had a close encounter of the highway divider kind. I picked up a black Honda Civic coupe from a company called CarSense, and she already had a custom exhaust and great pick-up. Considering she was the very best car I ever owned, I made a deliberate callback to Firefly and named her Vera.
She’s run pretty well over the last few years. I’ve had very few problems to speak of. But now, she’s 117000+ miles into her life. I’ve paid her off completely. And now, she’s started developing major issues. If I were to get absolutely everything fixed, I’d be spending about half of her trade-in value.
I know that other cars have lasted longer than this. A lot of people put a ton of TLC into their cars themselves, extending the life of their modern chariots to ludicrous levels. I respect that deeply. And I know that older cars were built to last. They were not built to support an economy of replacement parts and second-hand labor. They were built, simply, to work, and keep working.
Vera’s been a companion for a long time. She’s been to and from Canada several times, crossed the state of Pennsylvania, and getting to and from PAX East could have been a lot worse. She’s comfortable to ride in. I upgraded her radio recently so she syncs with my iPhone, plays music from a thumb drive, and sounds fantastic. I’ve always liked the thrum of her engine and the roar of her acceleration. Until the last couple days, she hasn’t let me down or left me stranded. She’s been reliable, quick, and tough.
For years she’s had a dent on her driver’s side. After getting wanged by a post on the way to Canada during some nasty weather, she continued to run just fine after she got pulled out of the ditch. She’s worn that dent with pride. I guess there was a part of me that thought of her as kind of invincible. She even gets good gas mileage – 33 or more miles to the gallon on the highway. Not as good as a hybrid, or the Tesla I’ve been eyeing up, but decent.
I’m going to miss her.
I’m contemplating trading her in. I don’t know if I can trust her for the entire drive out to Seattle in August. It turns out that even after these repairs are done, she’ll develop more problems, possibly sooner rather than later. I feel like a family member has been given a medical diagnosis with a questionable outcome. I really don’t know the best way to proceed. I guess I’ll figure that out over the next few days.
Either way, I don’t think Vera will be my car for very much longer.
It’s been a long trip. A good one. It’s had ups and downs but I’ve survived, and so has she.
Thanks for everything, Vera. I’ll miss you.