I once owned a car that had been owned several times before it got to me.I loved that car, even though it wasn’t brand new, because it was still nice looking and ran beautifully. For the first year or so, i took very good care of it- regular oil changes and maintenance , car washes, and interior cleaning/vacumming. I hung sweet air fresheners, bought some seat covers, played with all the options and was ecstatic that it got me wherever i needed to go without any issues.After a while though, i started taking it for granted. I started skipping or putting off maintenance, stopped washing and vacuuming it all together and over time, even started leaving trash in it and not emptying the ashtray.Really, i figured, it didn’t need all that much attention- as long as i kept the gas tank filled and it had decent tires and passed inspection- we were good to go.
Another year or so went by and occasionally it had a hard time starting or some minor problem , but i only dealt with it when i had to.As long as it kept running and getting me where i needed, i was content.One day it started harder than usual. I kept trying and trying and after about 8 tries, it finally started roughly and we were down the road..for the first few miles it seemed ok but then it started making funny noises, they got louder..i turned the radio up and tried to ignore them. I tried to keep my mind off the possibility that something was wrong because i really really really didn’t want to deal with it.
But suddenly a squirrel ran out in front of me. As i tried fervently to brake i realized that something was wrong– very wrong..i couldn’t stop..and as i pulled on the emergency brake too late the car smashed head long into a traffic sign , rolling over on its side . Scared the crap out of me.I was ok, but shaken and got out . I called triple A, then my insurance company. The police came , took their report, and i Ubered home. The next day i rented a car, had mine towed home.I was devastated, i prayed and prayed that the car would magically fix itself, or that some angel would just come down and forgive me and i would wake up to my car being exactly as it used to be.”i’m sorry, i’m sorry- i made a mistake”- i kept repeating . But alas i realized it wasn’t going to happen.Over the next few weeks i found out how much it would cost to repair, and how much time it would take..i didn’t have the time, and even though the money was doable i just gave up and went directly to a dealership and obtained another car .
The new car was great at first, even though i was paying a HUGE monthly payment and higher insurance. It didn’t really have all the cool, quirky features as my old one but it smelled nice, and all my friends ooh-ed and ahhh-ed over it. I kept looking at the old car thinking i would get it fixed.After about 3 months i realized that i could no longer afford the apartment and the new car so i decided to move and down size. the old car remained in the driveway and i cut a deal with my landlord to sign over the title in lieu of my last months rent.
The new apartment was only a few blocks from my old one, so i still drove by my old car almost every day, and for almost a year it sat there. Then one day, it was gone.I really didn’t think too much about it until i happened to drive by the apartment one saturday morning to see the garage door opened and there was my “old” car. I just about passed out. The person who lived there was outside sitting on the porch so i took a chance and stopped in.
I explained what happened and the man listened intently. I couldn’t believe the car in the garage was actually my old car. It looked brand new- new paint, lots of new parts and was running without a hitch. worst of all i found out from the new owner that it was a rare model and after a few repairs was worth thousands more than it cost to fix, and far more than i had payed for it.The man said he absolutely loved the car, he had had it photographed for magazines and entered it into some contests and drove it daily to work. He had even taken it on a few vacations. He was obviously so in love with it, i didn’t dare ask to take it for a drive or even touch it. I was humiliated, angry at myself, and depressed.And as i got into my new( now older) car, i felt like i was driving a bargain basement Chevette. I no longer enjoyed it or even wanted it. But i was stuck..with the payments, costly maintenance and repairs and high insurance premiums.
What amazes me about this story , is that it shocks me to this day how some people treat relationships in exactly the same way. They pay attention to it for awhile when its new , then start taking it for granted. They let maintenance issues go,dont put any effort into fixing problems, pray for forgiveness for wrong doings and just hope it all goes away without any effort, time or pay out on their part.They believe if the ignore it, and just feel remorse instead of taking action there will be no consequences and the relationship will still be there when they need it.They don’t feel like taking any responsibility for any problems and even when they do, it’s only to say they are sorry.
Then one day, they wake up to find that relationship, like the car, has been acquired by someone else who truly cherishes it, spend time caring for it, and feels lucky to have found it.
If i am ever lucky enough to have a car like that again, i will certainly not forget the lesson i learned. I will not let it go, and i will do whatever i have to to keep it well maintained,running and happy.Because in the end, theres nothing more worth while than something that takes care of us as much as we take care of it, or them.