In 1994, with the royalties I'd earned from Secrets of the Super Searchers, I bought myself a new car, a sweet little Honda del Sol. It was totalled a couple of years later (in a no-injury rear-ender, if you really want to know, though the airbags did deploy, and that was exciting). Insurance paid for a nearly-identical replacement, a '97.
I loved driving that car, especially on curvy Highway 1 along the northern California coast, and especially with the top down. I'd fantasize that I was in an automobile commercial, with a helicopter filming overhead.
But eventually I stopped traveling for business, and then we moved to Portland, where we walk a lot and seldom need two cars at the same time. In the last three years, the del Sol has rarely left the garage. Since the Accord lives in the driveway, that was usually the car we took. Jerry finally hooked up a battery charger to which we tethered the del Sol whenever it wasn't in use, so it would start on those rare occasions when it had to.
Last summer I got back on my bike, and several months ago I received a free FlexCar membership, and I started thinking seriously about selling the del Sol. Owning two cars seemed ridiculous. The del Sol was just sucking up insurance premiums and taking up space in our barely-one-car garage. Also, to be honest, now that we were back in an urban, freeway-laced environment, I was so much more aware of how tiny it was compared with the trucks and SUVs that dominate the roads. Even compared to a standard sedan, the del Sol is a very small car. I just didn't feel very safe in it anymore.
A couple of months ago, I went so far as to check the Blue Book value, download the appropriate forms from the DMV, and read up on the do's and don'ts of selling one's car to a stranger. That was it til this past Thursday, when I checked Craig's List, just to get a sense of the market in our area. I found an ad posted the day before: I AM LOOKING TO BUY A DEL SOL and HAVE CASH NOW--THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So I responded to Mr. Multiple Exclamation Points, giving the basics, including my asking price. The guy came over this morning and took her for a spin. We now have a pocketful of cash and he has a car that, for him, is a celebration of life.
I took these pictures yesterday after washing her and cleaning out my tapes and trash and the plastic wildlife menagerie that adorned the dashboard. Apparently the buyer had no issues with my bumper stickers or Grateful Dead decals; I suspect that he's not familiar with that particular iconography.
As I told Jer this morning, I "pre-grieved" for the del Sol; I'd been thinking about selling her for so long. But I'm still kind of stunned. It happened so quickly.
I've never named any of my cars or even imbued them with gender, but notice how I switched from "it" to "her" in the last few paragraphs? That was unconscious. She was an old friend with whom I hadn't spent much time lately, but now she's gone and I miss her.
I'll get over it, though. I'm already thinking about what we can do with all that space in the garage.