From Roxy to Woody
It’s hard to say goodbye to an old friend, especially when that friend has carried you through many highs and lows, from dipping arid wastelands to lofty peaks. When that buddy has been a part of the happiest adventures of your life, separating from them is painful.
Jason and I purchased my trusty Mazda Protégé, Roxy, used shortly after we got married. Before we bought her we were sharing a car, which was highly inconvenient since my workday started at 5:00 AM and his began a few hours later in the opposite direction. We had to come up with an elaborate drop off scheme to get to our jobs. Needless to say, we were extremely grateful for a second car. We purchased Roxy for very little but, to a couple of poor newlyweds, she was the height of sophistication. With power windows, electric door locks, cruise control, and comfy seats she felt like a Rolls-Royce to us. Over the years Roxy proved herself far more valuable than her cheap price tag would suggest. Besides a couple of small AC and CV joint repairs, she never really asked us for anything so I was in no hurry to swap her. Although most of our friends kept changing vehicles and nagging us about trading up, I was prepared to hold onto that car until her bumper fell off but I guess all good things must eventually end.
Roxy was aging very well but Jason and I decided a couple of years ago that we should start saving for a new vehicle since there was no telling when she’d begin to break down. We intended on replacing her roughly sometime this winter. This plan sounded reasonable in theory but Jason may not have ever been able to convince me to go through with it if it hadn’t been for an especially snowy winter day. That particular December morning I-15 hadn’t been plowed even though about 4 inches of snow had accumulated on it. Jason was driving Roxy to work and, like most of the other commuters, he was moving at only 15 MPH due to the slick conditions but, leisurely pace notwithstanding, about halfway through his travels he suddenly started sliding into an adjacent lane. Despite his best efforts, there was just no going back. He ended up hitting a large truck that was inconveniently in the exact spot Roxy was destined to occupy. Roxy only had cosmetic damage from this incident but it was enough dints and dings to total her. Rather than paying to fix her up, we decided we’d keep her until she hit 200,000 miles, a target she was quickly approaching, and then sell her to Jason’s brother. That meant it was time to shop.
Jason and I are not the type of people that purchase cars on a whim. We look up as much information as possible on the vehicle class we are considering and then we test drive like crazy, examine additional figures, and ponder some more. This style of shopping is time-consuming but it has served us well. Since we’ve been extremely happy with the cars we’ve purchased using this method, we weren’t about to alter our system. Hence, it took us months to decide what we wanted to buy this time.
Our new vehicle needed to be a small or crossover SUV with 4WD or AWD. We were done skating on freeways and we wanted something hardier for our biking/snowboarding adventures. We were also looking for a car with good gas mileage that was little enough to fit easily into our cramped garage. Room to load up our bikes and boards was also a requirement. We are usually used car people, new cars really are a waste of money, but in this particular case, with our specialized needs, we found that the contenders in the used arena were pretty limited and not much cheaper. We realized that in order to get what we wanted we’d have to buy new.
As we began searching lots of spanking new vehicles, we discovered that it’s harder to shop for a new car than a used one. With new cars the selection is plentiful and the options are many: makes, models, colors, innards…we were a bit overloaded. After weeks of researching and test driving, we finally focused our attention on the Subaru Outback and Forester. We debated back and forth between these two for days but in the end I just couldn’t say no to the Forester’s large windows and spacious interior. (And Jason just can’t say no to me.) So the 2014 2.5i Limited Forester it was. The 2014 model, which has improved gas mileage, better torque, a streamlined exterior, and a swankier interior compared to the 2013, had only been shipped in restricted quantities to dealers two days earlier. Ours wasn’t even technically on the dealer’s lot when we bought it. We had the distinction of owning the only 2014 Forester on the road in Utah when we drove that baby home, a distinction I’m sure we’ve already long lost at this point. It’s barely 2013 so it doesn’t make sense that the 2014 is available at all; just try not to think about it too much. I’ve named our Forester Woodford, or Woody for short. (It’s a Forester and its name is Woody. Get it?) I love how open this SUV feels with its giant windows and huge sunroof. Woody already has quite the fan in me.
But alas, with Woody purchased it was time to part ways with Roxy. Jason’s little brother was very excited about having a car of his own; however, I wasn’t very excited about letting her go. I’m only a little ashamed to say that before we dropped Roxy off at his house I cried. I know, with my many layers of sarcasm and constant teasing, I don’t seem like the sentimental type but deep in this complicated heart is plenty of emotional turbulence that usually emerges at embarrassing times.
Roxy has not only been a very reliable car but she’s been part of a lot of wonderful memories. My whole married life, which has been extraordinarily happy, has passed in the presence of that vehicle. Her aging is a reminder of just how much time has elapsed for me as well. Where have the years gone? It was hard to say goodbye. I’m sure Matt will take good care of her and she’ll be as dependable a friend to him as she was to me but I’ll miss her still. Here’s to Roxy! My classy girl that has far outlasted many “superior” vehicles!
A post script: I miss the straightforwardness of older vehicles. What happened to the days when a power door lock was as fancy as it got? When you would turn the heat on if you got cold and the AC if you got hot. Now cars practically do everything automatically, even if you’d rather they didn’t, and there are so many knobs on their control panels that you need to pass a NASA course just to figure out how to adjust your radio stations. It’s funny how complicated we’ve made “simplicity.”
And what’s up with recent car models’ tiny windows? So many of the vehicles we test drove had such small windows that you could barely see the road from their stuffy interiors. They made me feel like I was driving around in a coffin. Claustrophobics of the world unite! Sure, from the outside their designs looked sleek but I think I’d prefer being able to see traffic to having aerodynamic windows. Carmakers, let’s not sacrifice functionality and practicality just so our vehicles can look like spaceships. Remember: the only flying cars can do currently is into pavement so it would be nice to be able to see that pavement before takeoff.