Note: if you don’t know me, you might think I’m crazy. That seems to be the trend this week. I’m not. But you’ve been forewarned.
This is written in memory of my beloved green 2002 Subaru Outback Impreza Sport, whose existence met an untimely end on October 21, 2010. Since the day I bought the car in 2006, I referred to it as “Derby.” Derby traveled with me to Nebraska, on Route 66, around the Midwest, to North Carolina, to and from work at Fort Bragg, to Florida, to South Carolina, to New York, around the Great Lakes, and throughout Vermont for a while. This was my first car, and I loved it dearly. When I switched my license and plates to Vermont, I even crowned Derby with a plate, “THE DERB.”
Derby loved off-road driving, drive-in movie theaters, preservation adventures, getting lost, winding, rural roads, and long road trips. His compass never worked after visiting Carhenge in Nebraska, and more than once the Check Engine light turned on for no good reason. Derby had an attitude and I loved it. Also, Derby was a proud displayer of the bumper sticker, “Historic Preservationists Make It Last Longer.” Derby made me love driving and I understood the American fascination with the open road and the automobile.
On October 21, 2010, a drunk driver hit my parked car in front of my house (which was parked legally, in the parking lane). I saw and heard it happen, all in a blur in the evening. Luckily, I was not in the car or hurt, nor was anyone else, and the drunk driver was arrested before she could kill someone. Derby took one for the team. I cried when it happened and the next day when Derby was towed away. At first, the promising news was that Derby would be fixed at no charge to me. The auto shop ordered the parts and began the work, only to discover that the damage was much more than expected (the rear driver side of my car was smashed, though it looked perfectly fine elsewhere on the exterior). So, now, the final news was that Derby would be totaled. Insurance is never fair, even when it’s not your fault, and what ensued is not something I’d rehash here, but just know that the entire situation is terrible.
As you can decipher, I was irrationally attached to Derby. I could probably claim permanent emotional damage, but I won’t (outright anyway). Say what you will about my personification of inanimate objects, but when you spend as much time driving as I did, it’s inevitable. And apparently it’s in my nature: my mother said that when I was two years old, I cried as my parents’ 1972 Chevy Impala was towed away. At least the story explains that part of my personality, I suppose. I never wanted any other car and my 2002 Subaru had so much life left in it before the accident. It was a miserable experience and I’ll probably never love a car as much as Derby.
Fast forward to now and I have another car – another Subaru. I heard somewhere that Subaru owners have an unexplainable attachment to their cars. I will never ever park this car on my street, even though it’s completely normal and everyone else parks there. I like my car, and we’re getting to be good friends, but I still miss Derby and feel a twinge of sadness every time I see an identical one on the road.
Do you love your car, too? I hope so. It certainly makes driving more fun.
Long live the spirit of Derby.
Does anyone know where I can get another Historic Preservationists Make it Last Longer bumper sticker – identical to those from Mary Washington? My new car and I will be eternally grateful.