The first wreck I ever had was when I ran into some trash cans. Why? Because I was fiddling with my walkman, which was attached to computer speakers–it was my little make-shift stereo because my little car didn’t have a sound system. A year after I got my car, I got a CD player. The first song played in the player? David Bowie “Changes.” It was fitting.
I blew out 6 speakers. 3 because of Dave’s version of Watchtower. I drove 107,849 miles in that car. I cried in that car. I had a nervous breakdown in that car. I screamed and laughed and snorted and even did some kissin’ in that car.
I drove every dog I’ve ever owned around in that car. Dottie used to like to hear Stand By Your Man. Ginger favored Jenny from the Block. Of course, I would change the lyrics to both of those. Stand By Your Man became Stand By Your Doooog and Jenny from the Block because Ginger from the Block. Maizie enjoys Iron and Wine. Molly seems to prefer Kelly Clarkson. And we all drive. . .
I had 6 flat tires. I changed 4 of them myself. I overheated 3 times in one day. I became an expert in Antifreeze and oil changes. I lost my air conditioning 3 years ago. And my sweat is burned into the driver’s seat.
For the first year of our relationship, my car had an open steering wheel, where the air bag had deployed for the previous owners. I cleaned bloodstains off the backseat. I duct-taped that steering wheel.
Here’s to the Check Engine light that burned brightly for 10 years, constantly. Here’s to the headlights that always had to be on Bright in order for anyone to see the road. Here’s to you, Leia One, sweet girl. Here’s to your rust, your dust, your mysterious passenger seat with the stain that spreads every time it gets hot.
Goodbye to the trash in the backseat. Goodbye to the shaky tires, the funky clutch, the door-handle that kept coming off in my hand. Goodbye to the driver’s visor which has been sitting in my closet for 6 years after a screw fell out and the whole thing fell down. Goodbye to the little fruit stickers from the apples I used to eat that decorated the dashboard.
Goodbye, sweet Leia One. You were a wonderful companion for 10 years. May you frolic and play where the road is always smooth and the air is always cool. Drive on, Z60-KNG!
And hello to you, Susie Lightning, new light in my life. I welcome your comfortable, stain-free seats. I embrace your FOUR doors. I applaud your automatic transmission and your cruise control. I rejoice over your air-conditioner. And I heart you because you belonged to Grandaddy and Grandmama. I hug your XRAY65 license plates to my heart.
As I drove home today, “Changes” came on the radio. And I felt my life move on. . .
To you, Susie Lightning: (Lyrics by Warren Zevon. Spelling of Susie because I prefer the ‘s’ to the ‘z’)
She only sleeps on planes
She’s tired of going nowhere
She’s in Yugoslavia
Working in a miniseries
I built a world for her
I need a girl from earth
She’s in Hungary
She sends post cards home
Does she think of me?
I’m in Hollywood
Takes no prisoners
No use crying about it
No use trying to hold on
She lights up the sky
Then she’s gone
She don’t have time for love
She don’t need me now
Can’t she see I’m burning up
Burning down, burning out
I built a world for her
Suzie LightningI need a girl from earth