I’m in the throes of having an “Old Yeller” moment because I must get rid of an old friend and faithful companion. No, of course I’m not shooting a dog; perish that thought.
I’m getting rid of my trusty Isuzu. We’ve spent the past 16 years rolling together down 329,000 miles of highways and byways, but now have arrived at a fork in our road.
I bought my wife Ann a new car, so logically I’m inheriting her old one. Of course “old” isn’t valid usage of that adjective in this case.
Her ride is almost as pristine as the day we bought it so not only is it new to me, it still has a lot of “new” in it. But even as I move up, I’ll look back with great affection for the white Methuselah I’m leaving that was so understanding.
It never got washed. An oil change meant putting in a couple of quarts when its light came on. Water was added when the thermometer said it was time. If I didn’t pay attention, it’d burp me a steam puff reminder to get a drink.
And even after all such dereliction of ownership responsibilities, my little Isuzu fired up and took off every time I asked it to. Still does, which brings me to the bright side.
Normally any vehicle with such huge mileage would be destined for the junkyard but not in this case. It’s going to my brother in-law Ralph who is somewhat of a car savant.
After a few weeks in his hands, my little machine will be purring like a cat and sparkling like a diamond in a goat’s butt. He’ll put my old car into perfect order.
In fact, you can mark my words: When Ralph gets through with it, it’ll be almost new. I wonder if he’ll advertise it as a 1998 “demo.” That’d be weird but the thought makes me smile.
The reason for this dance of musical cars is Ann’s new Jeep. It’s quite amazing. I had no idea about what bells and whistles came in them nowadays. I’ve never had bells and whistles, only rattles and squeaks.
It has no key in the traditional meaning. You don’t use it to unlock the car, get in and start it. The vehicle simply “knows” you have it.
In the words of Star Trek’s Commander Sulu, “Oh my.” Each seat is heated and cooled with individual settings. A camera displays what’s behind you when you back up and the mirrors pivot downward to reflect each rear tire.
I think I read in the owner’s manual that if you’re ever late on a payment, Jeep’s Captain Kirk will push a lever that immediately transports you into your banker’s office. I’ll definitely not explore that “service.”
I’m adjusting to Ann’s car to make it mine. Its floors and seats aren’t covered with papers and files, but I’ll fix that in short order.
Also, the air-conditioning works so I won’t ride with the window down. There goes my farmer’s tan.
Otis Gardner’s column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.