Still rolling after all these years!

This month I’m celebrating the 16th birthday of my car. That’s right, my car!

Now, I generally try not to get too attached to inanimate objects and “stuff.” But this car has been just about the best purchase ever. It turns 16 this month, and it also just rolled over 220,000 miles. I don’t want to jinx it, but it still looks great inside and out. It’s a little noisier on the road than it used to be, but that’s to be expected. IMG_3719

This workhorse, a 2007 silver Lexus RX350 (bought in 2006), has been around! It’s made numerous road trips from Kansas City to New York, Ohio and Michigan. It’s been to Chicago and all over the Midwest. And a few years ago, it made a three-day trek from KC over to the Grand Canyon, through the desert and into Los Angeles.

You know how people say their pets are family members? Well, I kind of feel that way about this car. It’s been part of our lives for a long time! Though it’s technically my car, it’s been the family car. We’ve taken trips and weathered storms. We’ve hauled tennis and soccer gear and musical instruments and groceries and trees and shrubs and mulch. The only real issue is that the windshield seems to attract rocks. Maybe it’s the angle of the glass. Not sure, but I’ve replaced the windshield four times! A small price to pay for the service it’s given, though.

Now that the car is well-past the 200k mark, my eyes have begun to stray to other cars out there that might be contenders when I have to put this one to rest. But, ugh, the pickins’ are slim. My car has an arm rest. Most cars these days do not. My car has a space between the two front seats where I can set my purse when I have a passenger. I haven’t seen a single car in the last few years that has this feature. Instead, they all have huge consoles between the seats that are bulky and take up too much interior space.

IMG_3852I won’t buy the newer model of this one because it’s changed too much. Mine is sleek and rounded and pretty. The newer ones are chunky and angular. Sigh. I’m hopeful this one still has a couple of years of life. And that some other cars will morph into models I’d like to drive!

Several studies claim that your choice of vehicle tells something about your lifestyle and personality. For example:

It’s probably true. I know when I create characters for my books, I think carefully about what vehicle they’ll drive—what makes sense for their situation and personality. The person who drives a big black truck is not the same person who drives a compact sunny yellow hybrid. I suppose I like that my car is nice and comfy but also very functional. Does your car suit you? Do you have any objects/possessions that you are loath to part with? — Darlene

With cars, there can be issues of status and affordability. Or size and design. Safety and reliability. In my contemporary romance “Something Good,” Mandi drives an old, rusty Honda Civic. It suits her, and she doesn’t want to upgrade. So when her well-meaning parents switch the car for a newer model without asking her and then leave it in the parking lot of her office, she’s upset. Here’s an excerpt:

In the middle of the parking lot, Mandi stood with her hands on her hips. This did not make sense. She approached the newer car that sat in the spot. “I’m sure this is my spot, damn it,” she muttered. A piece of paper fluttered under one of the windshield wipers. Mandi tugged the paper out. Big blue letters spelled out “Surprise!”

Surprise. What did that mean? Was this some kind of joke? Her eyes tracked a black Mercedes sedan as it pulled into the lot. It took a minute for recognition to dawn. This had to be a dream – or an episode of Punked. The Mercedes stopped in front of her, and both doors opened.

Her jaw dropped. “Dad. What are you doing here?”

He shot a glance at her mother, who wore a nervous smile.

“Hi, honey,” she said with a little wave at Mandi.

“We came to give you the keys to your new car,” her dad said. He moved forward, and dangled keys in front of him.

Mandi heard his words, heard the jingle of the keys, but stood gaping at her father. “What are you talking about?”

He took her hand and deposited the keys into it. Then, with his hands on his hips, he studied her. “Look, here’s the deal. We’re leaving, and we’re already going to worry about you in that trailer park. Your car needed to be replaced, and we didn’t want to worry about you getting stranded on the road some night.”

When Mandi started to protest, her dad held up his hand. “Stubborn is one thing, Miranda, but this is safety.” He nodded toward the Civic. “Besides, it’s not brand new. It’s got about forty thousand miles. I’ve had it checked out. It’s in good shape. New battery and tires. Good air conditioning. It should last you a while.”

Tears pricked Mandi’s eyes. It was a nice gesture. But she hadn’t worked for it. Hadn’t done anything to earn it. She’d feel guilty accepting it. Of course she knew her dad’s own guilt played a part in the gift. It wasn’t the first time he’d tried to make up for his ugly behavior with money, even though she’d told him repeatedly she didn’t want his charity.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicki Batman says:

    I have had cars I loved-an old Land Cruiser, an old Jeep Cherokee. Still have a 1999 Jeep Wrangler. After Handsome’s surgery, he grabbed my hand and asked if he could buy me a new car. I love it! He did say jewelry would have been cheaper, but then I don’t wear much jewelry. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, that’s a sweet story! Glad you love it!


  2. Hey, Darlene. Love this post. Yes, I have to be careful to get to attached to inanimate objects, especially cars. I had a great deal of trouble selling a Toyota SUV I’d carried my mother around in for several years. I remember being in the dealership bursting into tears. We didn’t sell it. Ultimately, gave it to one of my daughters and later she sold it. Yeah, I get attached. My current car is a 2018 Ford Escape, a beautiful tea color. (The color and cup holders are the most important to me about cars) LOL I totally agree with you about needing that place in the center for your purse. Why don’t the car makers get that? Loved the excerpt from you book. I’ve shared. 🙂


  3. I get it, Marsha! It’s especially hard when the things are associated with memories! I’m with you on the cup holders! lol


  4. Theresa Hupp says:

    The longest I ever kept a car was ten years . . . a 1993 Mercury Villager minivan. It had arm rests, the space between the front seats, all the nice things you mention. It had about 130,000 miles on it when we traded it in for a 2003 Mazda MPV minivan, which I liked even better than the Villager. That car got totalled, and then I drove a 2009 Mazda 5, followed by my dad’s 2012 Mazda 5, which I inherited. So I drove minivans from 1993 until 2021 (if you count the Mazda 5 as minivan — I called it a “baby minivan”).
    I now drive an SUV, but I am definitely a minivan personality.
    I’m rooting for your old Lexus!


    1. I had a very functional minivan for ten years, too! Mine was a Plymouth Voyager. It was the right car for the kids’ growing up years! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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