Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Poor Baby

Yes, I am one of those annoying people who has a name for his car. Our 2002 Corolla – the first major purchase my wife and I ever made together – is called “Stasha.” I’m not sure I remember exactly where that name comes from. I believe we met someone In Provincetown, Massachusetts when we were vacationing there who had a dog named Stasha. We liked the name so much we decided to give it to our brand new car.

I even talk to my car; I say hello to her when I haven’t seen her for a while. When I return from two or three days of business travel, and I find her in the long-term parking lot at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, I imagine she’s wagging her tail, as happy to see me as I am to see her.

“Hey, Stasha,” I say, “how’s my girl?”

The name stuck, and even Jackson, our six year old, occasionally uses the name to refer to the Corolla. Now that Stasha has taken sick, I feel a little foolish, thinking about a car as though it were a pet. I should know about all these parts they’re saying she will need in order to recuperate, but I don’t. I’ve allowed myself to be ignorant of such things, depending on the experts not to steer me wrong.

Now they’re telling me it may cost as much to repair Stasha as I could get by selling her, if not more. We’ll look around for better prices, but something tells me we may be facing a difficult decision some time soon – to either part with a tremendous sum of money, or to depart from our beloved Stasha.

I’m surprised at how emotional the thought of losing my car is to me. I’ve never been a “car guy.” Maybe it’s more about what she represents than anything else, being the first “joint venture” Jeanette and I ever embarked upon. (We’ve since launched several others: a coop, two children, another car and a house.)

For a while there I harbored fantasies about giving Diego the keys to Stasha when he was old enough. That’s a naïve thought for someone who wouldn’t be able to distinguish a carburetor from a transmission. If I’m not willing to study up on cars and their maintenance, I have no reason to believe my cars will last any longer than they normally would.

I’m not ready to say good-bye to Stasha just yet, and who knows, maybe I won’t have to. She’s been a great car, having shuttled my wife to the hospital for the births of both my sons. She rode on the back of a car carrier all the way to Texas from New York City.

When that farewell comes, I’ll be sorry to say goodbye.

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