Because I’ve been busy writing all of these ongoing posts about my jaw journey and scheduling them to be published, I haven’t had the opportunity to share any other things going on in my life during that time.
I’m writing this post in memory of my beloved Chrysler PT Cruiser. It was on January 17, 2022 that I was informed that she could not be resuscitated. I don’t believe that I’d ever gone through the steps of grieving for an inanimate object before – or after – but I knew there was a gray cloud of sadness hanging over my head and my heart.
My logical side thinks I’m silly (or crazy, perhaps?) to be carrying the memory of that car so strongly and finding that my mind automatically remembers that date as well as all of the things that happened as a result of that event. And so, over a year later, I think about this favorite vehicle I’ve ever owned while simultaneously chiding myself for still having emotions attached to those thoughts.
As I thought about writing this post, I wandered between trying to ascertain why I had such a strong bond to this car and trying to talk myself into letting go of said “bond”. All this time later, I can still remember the details of when I first saw a photo of this car to looking back at the photo several times over the next several weeks to see if I still felt “in like” with the car, to finally taking myself to the lot and taking a test drive. I was a little nervous about the test drive – always nervous when driving something I’ve not driven before and paying attention mostly to being a good driver rather than how the car was handling. Despite that, I liked the car, liked how it felt with me in the seat, liked the height of it (going from a standard height vehicle) and I especially liked the color (it was called “magnesium” but was a sort of gray/green). I knew I wanted to buy it, but because I had a reliable car at the time, I didn’t feel pressured to buy another vehicle.
Of course, I’d been around the block enough time to know I needed to do some negotiating on price and trade-in value. We finally agreed on numbers that were acceptable to both of us, and the deal was made. I returned the next day with all of the paperwork, including the title to my currently owned car, and drove away with this cutie.
I thought then about the multiple trips my Cruiser and I made to Florida to visit my dad, once a year, usually in winter when it was easier for me to get away from work. Because I’ve always enjoyed driving, I always pushed to do so for the trip rather than fly into Jacksonville Airport (a little over 1 hour north of them) and have them pick me up. I think, subconsciously, that I also wanted to have my car with me so I had an escape. Consciously, I could think of no reason to need one, but something deeper felt better to have my car handy.
Time behind a steering wheel was always a good time for me to let my mind wander, especially on long treks of a highway before changing. I had my favorite 6 CDs in the player, and I was singing or humming along sometimes, and sometimes not even aware music was playing. Perhaps it was those very many hours driving that trip back and forth when my mind was free from responsibility for anything other than to drive safely that made my bond with the Cruiser more special.
Then, too, she really was the perfect size for me (the car I have now feels too big for me!). I didn’t hesitate to take her anywhere, even in unknown territory, because we handled the roads perfectly together. She was easy to handle, comfortable to sit in, and honestly, whenever I unlocked the car and climbed into the driver’s seat, it was like connecting with a friend.
She had a good run – 15 years and less than 86,000 miles on her – and she was taken from me far too soon. Whenever I see another PT Cruiser, especially in a parking lot, a part of me wants to sit and await the driver/owner and then offer to trade with them, even up. Since PT Cruisers stopped being made after 2010 and my Chevy Equinox is a 2011 and comes with many more bells and whistles, that person would come out the winner of that trade. I won’t do it, of course, because though I’m crazy, I’m not stupid. And a small part of me recognizes that I loved MY Cruiser, not just any Cruiser. Still, I’ll never be totally comfortable in my Equinox. It’s a good thing I don’t go anywhere anymore (I might have, at most, 650 miles on her since last inspection when it’s time for inspection again). I’ll never learn all of this car’s bells and whistles because I don’t need them. Maybe some day I’ll get the manual out and try and make sense of some of them.
I will always miss my car. In writing this, I’ve come to discover that I don’t really care if people think I’m weird for having a strong emotional attachment to a car I no longer have. No other vehicle will ever earn that bond, and I’m entitled to my feelings, after all.