Yesterday, I dropped off my 8 year old car for some body work. I am tooling around in my farmer-neighbor's elderly father's late wife's car. How's that for a sentence! It has been sitting outside pretty much full time since I moved in - almost 5 years. It is a little creaky because it doesn't get used. I got advice like, "don't worry about all the lights on the dash - don't mean a thing." Lights that spell out, "anti lock", and "check engine NOW", and my personal bugaboo, "low tire". Plus some other dire warnings that are Greek to me.
It dawned on me, as I crept up the mountain to a chorus of odd noises, how completely attached to my car I am. It fits me like a glove. First, it's a manual transmission - my transmission of choice, since learning to drive in Cleveland's lake effect snow. I find myself flailing about, trying to find the clutch and shift knob. Then there's the gas mileage. I will have to say that my 2003 Ford Focus Wagon gets great gas mileage. Over 30 mpg. How can you not love that -- especially if you have a long commute.
But it's even more than the obvious. It's how the seat feels. It's all the little quirks - the radio volume knob that, when you initially turn the volume down, makes it get louder. Then, there's the change in my ashtray. The dog treats in my center arm rest. The half-inch of debris on the floor mats. The floor mats themselves. The bits of hay hanging like fringe from the back ceiling. Geez, I could go on and on.
Since the body work is being done as a favor by a neighbor for practically peanuts, I can't call and whine and ask when it will be done. So I will just have to make the best of it -- I think, confidentially, that this car is thrilled to be out on the road. What started as a creaky sound is now a nice, satisfied hum.