Saying goodbye is never easy, especially not to her. She was there for the birth of my two children, through various family trials and some really wonderful times. Never once letting me down when I needed her. She was both my first and probably my last.
My 1997 Nissan Sentra!
Living and working in the city, there really wasn’t much need for me to buy a car. That all ended when I found out my wife was expecting our first child.
As her due date approached we began looking at cars. I toyed with the idea of a truck or van, but we were still a small family. About a month before my first child came into this world I purchased my black Sentra.
She was never considered luxurious, fancy or popular, but I didn’t care, she was mine.
When I would take her to my car wash spot on Sunday’s in the summer to get her clean and shiny, some of the brothers would look down on me. That’s not just metaphorical. They were sitting in their Escalades, Denali’s or Suburban’s on 20 inch rims while I jumped out of my little Sentra. I bumped my stereo as much as it would without bursting the tweeters. Sticking my chest out a little further proud of the fact that this car was mine and I was quite comfortably making the payments.
She was the last car I would drive. November 16, 2003, two days before the birth of my second daughter. She too would come home in the Sentra, although not driven by me. By that time I did not trust my steadily diminishing vision to safely navigate the family back to Pennsylvania from the Bronx.
The time finally arrived when I would have to say goodbye. And I couldn’t. I was sick! No, literally, I was coughing, chills, congestion and all of the other nasty side effects of a cold or flu.
That night after my wife returned home without the Sentra, I began thinking of the little four door car in the lot, by herself outside. She’s a garage car; she’s not used to the elements. It’s raining, and cold, how will she cope. “Did you say goodbye?” I asked my wife. “No!” She muttered. Probably thinking about her shiny new crossover vehicle now comfortably parked where the Sentra has been for the past 8 years.
Maybe she’s thinking of the fancy steering wheel controls, satellite radio with their drug dealer business model (first 3 are free, then you’re hooked) or maybe all that additional room and comfort. “You know we’ll all have a cup holder now!” she gleefully cries out.
I say nothing as I recall the time I finished cleaning the Sentra and armor oiling the wheels and a black Mercedes sedan pulled up next to me. I honestly thought someone could easily confuse the two. And save the jokes about this being the first sign I was losing my sight.
Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The Sentra came into my life at the right time. It safely carried my precious family to all of our destinations. Never once leaving us stranded.
Now that she’s gone it is like closing a chapter of my life. As we know, with change comes opportunity. The lines on the new pages will be filled with new exciting experiences for the Reid family.
I’m past the pain that comes with losing the ability to drive. I’m done equating driving to my masculinity. Besides, a car is an inanimate object, right?
I’m on to focusing on the pleasures of being a passenger. And yes there are plenty;
Sleep – some of my best sleep comes cruising down the highway.
Co-pilot – when necessary, I have the gift of gab. I may not be able to read a sign or provide the exit number, but I will keep my pilot awake and entertained when required
Mobile Office – I can open my laptop and actually work as we travel.
So there it is, saying goodbye to the Sentra for me was at first saying goodbye to the freedom I once equated to driving, officially turning the keys over to my wife and all that comes with the role of pilot.
The final lesson, while not solely born out of trading in a car, but rather a lot of introspection and work, is an awareness that although no longer behind the wheel, I still steer!