My trip oddometer read 1336 miles when I pulled back onto Tompkins Place this morning, at the completion of my New England road trip. Becky did a little driving on this trip, but I was behind the wheel of my 1997 green Nissan Maxima for the vast majority of those miles. I've never named my car, but we've spent a lot of time together over the past few years, and since I've been writting about bikes so much recently, and since I literally woke up and got into the car this morning, I though I'd change it up and tell you something about my car.
Driving is one of my guiltiest pleasures. Though I hate the way my car gulps gasoline and pollutes the air, I love how fast it goes, and I love the games you play when traveling on the highways. My guilt has made my relationship with the car the on-again, off-again type. I'll go for weeks without driving, as I ride my bike to and from work, and use the subway. But then I'll go to Vermont and drive 1300 miles in 5 days of travel. I've been on for a while, so now maybe its time for a break. I love that the car and I won't miss each other, and we'll still be able to pick up exactly where we left off.
As far as I'm concerned, my car is the best car that ever was. Its 6-cylinder engine is way more powerful than it needs to be, but it sure makes schlepping around a full load of stuff or people or bikes easy. Four bikes, four boys, and a trunk full of clothes, food and various detritous never seemed to slow it down.
I love that even with four wheels spread 163 inches apart and 3085 pounds of metal, I can still feel intimately conected to every ounce of its muscular frame. The connection I feel to my car is almost as strong as that which I feel to my 18 pound bike. I notice every little tick that the car makes.
Usually ticks are vibration coming from a bike on the roof. Today there was a tingling sound coming from the right side of the car, like a chain was hanging off the bottom of the car. Not long enough to drag, this chain would just kiss the pavement whenever the suspension compressed. It was hardly audible, but there it was, tingaling, tingaling. I'll have my mechanic check that out the next time I get the oil changed.
I love the independence that comes with my car, that for the last two years of my college education I was able to fit just about everything I own, including all three bikes, into it. I love how precise its handling is, that it cuts into corners like a scalple, and rolls over bumpy roads with hardly a whimper of protest.