Today I waved good-bye to my favorite car, ever. All those of you remembering that Sprite or Mustang or ’67 Chevy will guffaw when I do the big reveal.
Please chuckle — don’t guffaw! The car I’ll miss the most is a 2001 Ford Focus.
Why? Well, for starters I was ten years younger, and the last decade has been the most challenging of my life. After years of Escorts and Mirages, the Focus felt big and luxurious. For the first time in my life I had power windows, air conditioning a CD player and one of those clickety things. I drove it on icy roads at midnight returning from work, so warm and so trusting of my front wheel drive. We traveled to Ottawa dozens of times, a book on CD whiling away endless hours on the 401.
What I’ll always remember the Focus for is providing one of those too rare moments of transcendence. I was driving home alone in a snowstorm after a convivial evening with friends. The windshield wipers thwapped, the snow drifted down in fat flakes like the flocking on a Christmas card, and Vladimir Horowitz was blasting a Chopin Ballade from the radio. Apart from Vlad, the night was silent, as most snowy nights are. I was in my warm capsule of peace and joy, and I don’t mention words like peace and joy unless I mean it.
Six months ago Big White’s battery started to give us problems, Lou’s cool Tiburon decided to swim to that eternal junkyard and we bought our peppy Little Blue Toyota. As neither of us has what you might call a Day Job, the Focus sat in the driveway because we couldn’t start it and we didn’t need it.
On a rainy day late last week Lou came back from the mailbox with an note enclosed in a baggy. It read : “I was wondering if you would be interested in selling this car? If so, call or text me. Kevin.”
I called Kevin. He has a friend two streets over and — good grief! — he had fond memories of his own old Focus. He was thinking about giving it to his sixteen-year-old brother for the kid’s first car. Of course he asked “Do you have the title?” Yipes.
We spent ten hours on Saturday tearing through every cursed piece of paper we’ve accumulated for the last five years. I mean every single damned piece. The veins in Lou’s temples throbbed. I’d checked the Secretary of State’s site for the form to get a new title, and I offered up the idea of the 95 buck fee. Note: We finally cleaned up that stack of mail.
Lou had gone to the grocery store to pick up the two indespensibles: toilet paper and cat food. Kevin rang. He was forty-five minutes from a viewing and he asked again: “Do you have the title?” Nope, Kevin, but we’ll take care of it.
Lor love a duck. As I was sweeping the stacks of redundant paper from the dining room table (AKA Mission Control) the Great Being cut me a break. We’d been through the stack ten times, but there it was in plain sight: the title.
I was thrilled to tell Kevin I’d found it when he came over and tried to start Big White. Big White wasn’t cooperative. We lowered the price. He said he’d get back to me.
Today Kevin and his charming father arrived with a stack of bills and a trailer. Bye bye, Big White.