Kermit: Part III, The Last

Tonight marks four weeks since Kermit and I parted.  These particular four weeks have been monumentally busy, both professionally and personally, and my gratitude for this jolt of vitality cannot be overstated.  First, it has helped me cope with transitioning to the new wheels.  (Cloth seats are grabby and confusing.  What side is the gas tank on.  Why the eff doesn’t the rear window defroster turn itself off.  Etc.)  Next and more importantly, it has been the catalyst I have needed to go forward again.  I have been forced to be patient with a necessary inertia for close to two years now, a time in which I have learned and grown so much, yet am more than ready to bid farewell.

Saying that to Kermit however has been a lot harder than I thought.  And tonight, on my drive home in the new auto, I saw him sitting at the dealership all shined up with a big price tag in his windshield ready for someone to come take him home.

She bursts into tears.  Tom Petty, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” plays on the radio. 

(No really, that was playing.)

I have been trying to write this last post for the last two weeks.  Yes, work has been crazy, mostly due to the fact that my company has been sold to our biggest competitor in a nearly billion dollar deal, and yes, I took a four-day road trip to Southern Cal, and yes, one of my closest friends got her literal dream job and is moving three time zones away and all the last minute socializing that stirs up, and yes, both my dogs have been on a vet bender, and yes, SEAL Team 6 took out bin Laden, and yes, Kate Middleton’s dress was sublime, and yes, I did get up at 2:45AM to see it live, and yes, all the regular life stuff on top.  Even with the added action I intended to finish the Kermit posts, but every time I sat down to write, only nonsensical crap was coming out.  (I still don’t know if this makes sense or if it properly respects my time with the big green Allroad.)  The only thing I have figured out about why that might be happening is that I’m really missing our groove together and not getting the post done is a slightly immature rebellion in hopes of keeping the memories fresh.

Getting a new car during this time of transition is nothing but positive.  The facts are this: Kermit required more repair work than I could afford, or that he was was worth.  What chokes me up, is that I have always maintained and repaired all of my cars with care and diligence, but as  some very serious financial circumstances closed in on me, deferring maintenance on Kermit was a deliberate decision.  Not only do I miss my car, I feel guilty for nearly killing it.

Then I remembered “The Giving Tree.”  As much as The Boy is a caricature of insolent behavior due to his relentless selfishness, The Tree epitomizes warmth and respect and grace and love.  I will not compare myself to The Boy, but I will compare Kermit to The Tree.  He so consistently took care of me, over the hundred thousand miles we spent together hauling around me and my life, always making me look good, even when I felt very, very bad.  His final good deed was to provide the completely unexpected and sizable down payment for the new car.  To not be able to fix him myself as repayment for his service has troubled me, which I know, sounds absurd.  I am aware that I am describing a car, not a person.  I am aware that Kermit is a machine, worth only how well his parts work and what that market values.

But no matter what, I will forever love and appreciate that car like a member of my tribe, for always taking care of me, and for sticking by me through the very end, and now watching me go forward into my limitless future.

In a few days, I’ll introduce you to the new auto.  Kermit approves.

Kermit: Part I.(V)

(Work went sideways today and into this evening.  Don’t know if I will finish the rest of this tonight, so here is the in between.)

Kermit the 2nd went into service about a month after the accident, which at that time was about a month prior to the wedding we were about to host.  We were already married, but were finally getting around to having the big celebration, and if you have ever hosted a wedding, you can understand that having a colossal car accident which requires replacing the car via car insurance claims and attorneys and a car dealer two months before you are inundated with family and guests and a weekend filled with highly coordinated events and logistics, well, yeah, it was a bit of added stress that I did not need.  (Oh, and my caterer died.  Literally dropped dead and I just happened to read his OBITUARY in the LA Times while drinking my morning tea a short time before the accident.  Again, pay attention to the signs people!!  The answers are always there. )

Annnnyhoodle, getting my new Kermit was a welcome calm in the chaos and we bonded instantly.  One of the only places I ever felt safe emotionally was during my drive time.  Even if I was headed home, the place where all the hurt and yet unknown dramas were waiting for me, I would float along in my big steel cage on wheels signing songs with all the windows down like I had not a care in the world.

Right at the very height of our relationship’s demise, he took my car to Utah for a ski vacation.  The ski vacation of course that we took together every year, but he announced he was going alone and he took my car since it was four-wheel drive.  I did not like this one bit.  Not only was I pretty well wrecked at that point because we had not yet made The Decision (even though we both knew it was coming and frankly, had not figured out how to get there sooner), all I wanted to do was get in MY car and drive drive drive away to get my head cleared.  When he came back, there was a big white chunky stain on the driver’s side floor mat.  It was from road salt that he must have tracked into the car on his boots from the snowy roads.  Even months after we split I used to sit and look at that stain and seethe that he didn’t place the all-weather mats properly, and that he didn’t clack his boots together to get off the excess salted snow and so every time I looked at that damn stain I thought, “What kind of a jerk leaves his wife he’s about to divorce alone for two weeks but takes HER car to do it?”  An asshole that’s who.

When he got back, he moved out.  Double good news:  I was going to be freed from the mismatch that had temporarily turned me into a shadow of myself, AND I got to keep my car.  It was on to the next part of the journey for me and Kermit.

Kermit: Part I

Last Thursday night I ended my day in an unusual way.  I went and got a new car.  New car getting is terribly exciting and I have been very lucky to have had this experience many times in my life.  If I count just brand spanking new cars with less than 20 miles on the odometer, that’s four times including Thursday night.  I have also had two private owner cash purchases and one “pre-owned dealer-certified” experience as well.  It should be noted that this covers nearly 25 years of car getting.

I am of course very happy about the new car with its distinct new car smells and fuel efficiency and shininess and practicality.  But I am sad too.  I am missing my Kermit, my four-wheeled companion for the last nine years.  A lot has happened in the past nine years, but one constant has always been me and my big green Audi Allroad who faithfully carried me and my life in and out far and near and always through everything/everywhere/everyway I wanted to go.  And yes, I am crying buckets of wistful tears over my time spent with this hunk of metal.

Kermit actually existed in two versions of itself.  The first generation joined me in 2002 fairly soon after I was engaged and moved in with my fiancé.  I was driving another beloved Audi at the time, Ruby the A4, but she was too sporty for all the schlepping that I was needing to manage with my two new charges, my soon-to-be-step-daughters not to mention the plan to get a dog, (which then became two dogs).   She was a manual transmission too, so fun to drive, but again, not so practical.  His Land Cruiser, while bitchen, was just too huge, so I suggested the Allroads, being an ardent Audi fan.  (Including my three, there have been a total of seven Audis in my immediate family, one still being thoroughly enjoyed by my brother.)  He found one that was a year old, had 17,000 miles on it and every single solitary option you can think of as it was owned by a full-on Audi geek.  The geek man loved it, but wanted a new Audi toy, so we lucked out and got it for a great price with all the tricked out features to boot.  Plus, it could handle the amount of gear and sports equipment we were about to foist upon it.

My love for that car was immediate and intense.  I would read the manuals before bed until I understood all the specs; I would get it washed once a week; I would snuggle into the heated seats if it was anything below 70 degrees outside.  And it could pass going 80 uphill!  And it could take a corner like a Porsche!  And it could 4-wheel drive romp through mud and snow!  And the stereo was a private front row concert to all my favorite tunes every day!  Plus, it felt like it was all happening while riding on a cloud.

Then, one morning while driving along in a 40 MPH zone on the now almost auto-pilot route to work, a kid pulled a U-turn from a parked spot right in front of me and I crashed into her left front axle, thankfully not her door or I would have killed or maimed her. There was smoke and screeches and airbags and broken glass and adrenaline and when I could see again a few moments after impact, I unlatched my seat belt and walked away from my car that was now, as they say, totaled.  When my then-husband arrived at the scene and I burst into tears at the sight of him, he was apparently so comforted that I was up and walking around with no visible signs of injury, he dismissed me, and instead went over to the car as it was getting loaded up on the flatbed tow truck and sighed perhaps too heavy and sad a sigh over a hunk of metal in the face of my obvious shock and oncoming bruises and pains.  (That should have been the final straw for me that the marriage was not going to make it, but it took a few more car-crash like events to really get it through my head.  Live and learn, and please, just listen to your gut every single time!  An important digression…)   He came back over to me and said with utter exasperation he didn’t know what he was going to do now, and I said, through more tears, “All I know is, I want the exact same kind of car.”

And so, the 2nd generation Kermit came into my life. 

More on him and me tomorrow.  I need to back away from the keyboard, wipe these tears and go for a run!