Saying goodbye to my Civic
I’ve been painfully sentimental for as long as I can remember. viewing the simplest of items as an embodiment of the memories attached to them. I hate goodbyes.
Needless to say, when it came to turning in my 2004 Honda Civic I must have looked surprisingly upset about upgrading.
The Civic was the first car bought only for me. Dad spotted it in a Kroger parking lot. It had only been driven around 10,000 miles and the price was right. I knew hardly anything about cars then, but I knew that this wasn’t the Cavalier wagon that had been overheating three times a week, so I was happy. Unfortunately for the car, I was also a teenager.
That car took all of the punishment that I had to offer it. I blew a tire and bent a wheel plowing through a landscaping arrangement while looking for a CD. On a wet ninety degree curve I ran it into a ditch and cracked the inner fender and front bumper cover. One of my high school buddies left a cigarette burn in the back seat. And despite these and all other bumps and bruises of a teenage driver, the Honda Civic wouldn’t quit.
My Civic’s 1.7L 4-cylinder engine didn’t so much as cough through its 108,000 miles of work. The only mechanical system requiring attention was the air conditioning.
As I spun the key off of its ring, I didn’t feel relief to be getting rid of the car. Instead, I felt like I owed that Civic. I owed it better care and attention than it had received. It was how I imagined one might feel after abandoning an old friend. Yet this is exactly the role of a first car.
In so many ways our first cars are like old friends, refusing to break on us no matter what befalls them. As the old saying goes, these cars “take a licking and keep on ticking,” determined to get us from A to B no matter how incompetent we are. And that’s exactly where the Honda Civic lives.
Don’t ask me. Ask anybody you know who’s owned a Civic. Outside of the occasional hiccup, you’ll find a wealth of love stories between driver and machine. The Civic lives in the memories of its owners without luxury or power. It’s memorialized in stories of first dates and spontaneous road trips.
Any other first-time car owner gives up his ride with a sigh and a “Thank God.” The Civic owner takes a parting photo and offers an “I remember when.”