In the spring of my senior year of high school, I got an internship with a social services agency in Fredonia, which was about a half hour drive from my high school. It was a great gig, and I could get course credit for it, but in order to get there I needed a car.
So, my dad and I went to some dealers, (we didn't know anything about cars, but we looked under the hood and kicked the tires anyway) and wound up with a shiny green '99 neon. I immediately named him Rocinante, after John Steinbeck's pick-up in Travels with Charley, and Don Quixote's horse. Rocinante and I soon became fast friends. I decided that since I knew nothing about automobiles, I would shower him with love and affection in return for his continued operation. This worked suprisingly well, as when various problems arose and then promptly fixed themselves.
We had many fine adventures: spending a cold, cold, icy January driving around Buffalo, going on the best road trip ever with Digger, ferrying around various significant others, ferrying around my dog, going to and from Oberlin loaded with my worldy possessions, and much more. Recently, we carried some wood from the Oberlin College Arb to my friend Mooch's house, where it was to be lashed into a table. We drove to protests and job interviews and dates and retreats. Through five years of my life, Rocinante was my stalwart companion. His beautiful rear-end slowly became decorated with a half dozen bumper stickers, from "Priestly People Come in Both Sexes" to "Field of Dreams- Dyersville Iowa".
One of the reasons I chose Chicago for grad school is that it meant I wouldn't need a car. I don't really like having a car, as it is a lot of cost and hassle, and is bad for the environment.
However, I do like Rocinante. And today I peeled off all the bumpers stickers, and took the books and gear and recyclables out of his trunk. I suppose it was a fitting ceremony of leaving behind part of my life to begin this new journey.
But I'll miss him.
PS- Anybody want to buy a neon?