Perry came into my life at a major and purposeful time. It was 2003 when I made the major and purposeful decision to no longer live on the college campus and commute for the last year and a half to save money, but, most of all, to break away from the old and comforting and welcome the new and exhilarating. I was in the outside observer mode examining my life and coming to grips that an ending was coming and slipping and sliding into a new beginning.
Let’s be clear that Perry is a car. He started out as my sister’s car in 1998. I became the sole driver of Perry when I began my college commute. Perry was the car I learned how to drive in and actually drove in when I became a licensed driver. Together, Perry and I cruised underneath starry night skies, full moons, twinkling stars, and blinding bright sunlight. He listened to my bad singing, enveloped me in his familiar and plush interior, and tried to protect me by going strong when I experienced fender benders and even my first major car accident when a truck slammed into Perry’s headlights. Perry loved my family and friends as he openly welcomed and took us on road trips to New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island. He was even there when one of my closest friends threw up in a plastic bag in Perry’s purple-shelled protection. Perry was there when I laughed aloud, cried uncontrollably, and wallowed in loneliness. He was the ultimate listener to talks to myself and talks and even squabbles with my loved ones. Perry is the prime example of how we get attached to inanimate objects through materialized and moving memories that grow in our mind, fill up our hearts, and make up our lives. It is NOT things we get attached to, but it is the memories and people attached to these things.
For nearly 20 years, I have driven Perry. He is the only car that I ever drove. I named him to take ownership and responsibility of him. I have had to bring Perry to the mechanic more in the last few years than in the very beginning as Perry also shows that as we get older, we need more care and consideration. As my mechanic said whenever I got anxious about any sound effect that Perry made from getting older, “Perry is never going to die. He just keeps on going.”
About 4 years ago, I knew that Perry’s time was coming to an end when I made the plunge and forked over the money to buy him a new used engine that cost more than his worth in physical and function when the memories with him are priceless. He spent days in the garage to receive his new engine, or ‘heart.’ In those days without him, I started to toy with the fact that I would have to get a new car or used car. I couldn’t imagine parting with Perry, but the thought was starting to seep in my brain for me to soak up: “Well, when would be the right time for a new car and to say good-bye to Perry?”
Well, I got my answer right at the start of the 2017 year. I was driving along as carefully and slowly as possible on a rainy day when Perry was hit badly. It was a hit and run, meaning the the culprit who hit me never stopped to check if I was even alive or okay or if my car was okay. I could not stop looking at the dent only to be left with a wave of sadness at poor yet strong as steel Perry.
My Dad said that we had to get a bumper sticker band-aid to cover it up so I would not look at it and repetitively said, “Stop looking at the dent! You are getting obsessed!”
My friend said, “Just pretend it’s a dimple.”
As all my loved ones said to try to comfort me, “Mary, it’s a car. The dent isn’t that bad. A car can be replaced. You can’t.”
Yes, I thought, you know what else is irreplaceable are all the made memories that happened with Perry with all the people I love. Yes, this latest hit had to be Perry’s last hit. It was time for a new car.
While researching cars, time rewound for me to back to 2003 when I first was introduced to Perry that here I was now in 2017 looking on the outside of my life and knowing that an ending was coming and I was slipping and sliding into a new beginning. With a new car. How funny life is that time keeps on going, but sometimes it feels like it never went by.
My new car is now Rosie. A red car that I always wanted and dreamed of. She is an all-wheel drive that has a loud purr and roar when I merely tap on the gas medal. She has all these buttons and features that I am still trying to figure out, including a hatchback that is too high for me and makes me stretch on my tiptoes to maybe grow an inch taller and a rearview camera screen. She is a smooth ride. She has come into my life during a major and purposeful time in my life now when I am the outside observer examining my life to break away from and re-prioritize certain people and situations in my life for new beginnings. With her, I am making new memories
We all have experienced reaching an inevitable ending to what was once a beginning that will lead to another beginning. There are times when we must flow with ‘out with the old and in with the new,’ and not that ‘old’ or bad or ‘new’ is good, but that life is made of a series of points and timings that call for finishes and starts. Have you ever been attached to an inanimate object that created memories and experiences for you that you had to let go of? Have you ever reached a point or time in your life that you knew was an end and there was a new beginning? Have you ever really examined your life as the outside observer to execute changes that you knew timing was calling you to finally make?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,