If you know me well enough, you know Mariah.
We've come to a parting of the ways, and I think it's going to kill her. And her 10W40 oil will be on my hands.
Mariah is my gal pal--my 2002 Chevrolet Impala. She's darkly alluring in her midnight blue coat. She's feisty with her V-6 engine. She's sexy with her aluminum rims and rear spoiler. She's got a good handle in any situation with her traction control, power steering and ABS brakes.
We've been together from the beginning; she was made especially for me, delivered at the local dealer. When I had to fly to Florida for my father's funeral, I took her keys so no one (read: husband) could drive her while I was away.
And I've sold her.
(*eyes moisten, throat closes a little bit.)
She's a long car; it's a tight squeeze to fit her into her spot in the garage (especially with that shelf of everyone's junk taking up precious space). But on the highway, her length made the road smoother and she could glide beautifully even with her weight. Only that was part of the problem--parallel parking her when I went to book signings was a nightmare. In a parking lot, no problem, but on the street (especially since I suck at parallel parking to begin with), I'd have to drive farther down the street for an easier spot and lug my swag and stuff to the bookstore.
She's pretty good on gas for her size, but when you're doing two, three, events in a week, and half of them are out of state, she gets thirsty a lot sooner.
She's roomy--but two out of three children are grown and away at school. They rarely drive anywhere with me.
Sure, we've been in some scraps; a rude b*tch in the grocery store parking lot who was busy yakking on her cell just pushed her empty cart and it headed right for Mariah's back end.
I gave that lady what for. And then parked the cart behind her pretentious SUV.
I was chased down route 287 by two whackos. But with her V-6 (and the lack of helpful police anywhere) she had no problems doing 110 mph. Dusted those creeps.
So it's killing me to sell her. She won't understand, especially when her new owner is supposed to be an 86-year-old man. Can he see well enough? Are his reflexes quicker than the jerks on the road? Will he garage her and regularly maintain her like she's used to? I fear that she will end up in the scrap or wrecking yard. But maybe his much younger wife will drive Mariah until it's time for some young man to buy her on the cheap and fixes her up again, as a labor of love.
Have you ever been this attached to an inanimate object? I think most characters--in real life or in novels (YA, NA, or adult) don't have these kinds of attachments anymore. Maybe it's because I grew up in a racing family (both parents raced at the local speedway), my grandmother would accompany my dad and my Uncle Ed when they raced, my brother owned a race car and worked for NASCAR, and to channel my Marisa Tomei from "My Cousin Vinny", my grandfather was a mechanic, my father was a mechanic...and now my son will be a mechanic... it's just in the family bloodline to love our cars. It's the great dream of the '50s--to own a cool car. Characters today don't seem to have these sentiments.
Now you can argue that it's too materialistic, it's shallow. I'm thinking that we are a throw-away-and-buy-new society, where the value of ownership lasts only until the next shiny thing, and no one takes care of their property anymore.
You can say I'm anal; I take care of my house the same way; if the kids don't clean their rooms, I do (and sometimes with a big black garbage bag). I like to repaint rooms every five years, even if it's the same color. My windows get washed a minimum of twice a year, inside and out. I take care of everything so that it will last, and always look good. That could all stem from growing up in tough times; after my father no longer worked in the space program, it was hard for him to find another long term career and he worked numerous jobs to support the family. I know what it's like to have second hand toys and clothes (and they looked it).
So it's hard for me to let her go. Although he said it was a done deal, the buyer hasn't called to make the arrangements for me to drop her off and get paid. Maybe he won't show. Then I could find her the home she deserves.
And why is her name Mariah? Not after a popstar; because like the old song goes, "They call the wind Mariah." And she rides like the wind.