The Green Machine


On December 28, 1996, my parents gave me a car. This car. A 1997 Mitsubishi Galant. It was my present for my 17th birthday. It was a surprise. I was handed a small odd shaped packaged that turned out to be a package for a Christmas ornament. The keys to my new car were dangling where the ornament would have been. I saw the keys even before all the paper was torn off. I looked up at my dad across the long dinner table from me, and asked excitedly, “Where is it?!”

It had 70 miles on it — the number of miles driven for test drives and to get it from the dealership to our house. Today it has 177,000. 177,000 miles. In the last 13 years, I and the car that I lovingly call The Green Machine have journeyed 177,000 miles.

For two years it was just the two of us. I primarly drove it back and forth to work and school and home. Our first road trip was from Huntsville to Gulf Shores — just me and the car.

John and I joke that he married me for my car. He loved my little car. We’d been engaged two months when we drove it to Indiana for a job interview. That little car took us back and forth to Indiana many, many times over the next four years.

We replaced her for good about four years ago, so the last few years it’s been our spare car — The Green Machine is reserved for days that one of our regular cars are in the shop. But the last year or so it’s not been that reliable even as a spare car. The A/C went out more than a year ago, and despite spending several hundred dollars trying to fix it, it came down to the compressor, and the car is not worth the $1,700 it would take for a new compressor. The heat has taken it’s toll and the paint has faded, the dash is charred. The front fender is a little loose. Most recently one of the door latches stopped working and the door wouldn’t latch closed. The door not closing all the way made the battery run down.

She’s run her course and fought the good fight but it’s time. It’s time for her to retire. We looked at trading her in, getting what little bit we could for her toward another car. But we’re really not in the place to add another car payment right now — the best part about my little green gal was that she was paid in full.

So this week I gave her away. She’s no longer in the driveway, I signed over the title to the new owner, and tomorrow I’ll be taking her off my insurance. It’s silly. It’s a car. How is it you become emotionally attached to a car? But yeah, I kinda miss her. Even though she was unreliable and at times frustrating, she was my first car. I had her for 13 years. When I drove her I felt 17 again.

Not to worry though. I can go visit her anytime I want and probably even drive her.

She’s in good hands.

I gave her to my dad.

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