It's February, which means we've passed all the holiday madness. But it also means I've hit a very special anniversary.
I have a dear friend who's seen me through all of my adult milestones. Our relationship preceded my marriage and the birth of my children. She's been with me through my highs and lows, she's gone through cross-country relocations, suffered blistering heat and traversed snow and ice for my family.
Today marks our 20th anniversary. What a (literal) ride it's been.
She rolled off the production line in Sept. '98 and has been mine since Feb. '99
Yes, my friend is my car, and I love her.
But as we cross through the two-decade mark, I can't help but be sad. For, right at this moment, the Rav is having her first major mechanical problem.
My husband assures me that it's only the radiator and he can fix it, which is a relief. But, in the spirit of honesty, I need to face facts and admit what I've been trying to deny for many months: She's a beater.
The A/C isn't functioning--there's a leak somewhere. The lever for the cruise control is broke, and gas mileage has become terrible. Rolling the driver's side window down is a gamble, as the slow descent combined with a god-awful whine threatens a motor failure. She's got a huge gouge in the hood where my daughter, trying to lift her basketball hoop into an upright position, struggled under the weight and dropped it onto the car. My son has managed to loosen the cloth and foam surrounding the inner back door handle, and wear from the car-seats and boosters has created at least one tear in the cloth of the backseat.
She's been rattling, letting me know she's not as spry as she used to be, and I realize I've taken for granted how reliable she's been.
Thinking of my sweet, little Rav-ioli as a tool to be used and replaced, rather than a sentient member of our family feels wrong. Replacement feels like abandonment, but I think I need to consider it.
As all of us old fogeys say, "They don't make 'em like they used to," so I'm apprehensive.
Are cars built to last anymore? Honestly? Is anything?
Where's the profit in a vehicle that will run decade after decade? Will I buy another Toyota, hoping for another faithful friend, only to get a tool that works great so long as the warranty is valid?
Tell me Reader, do you have a model you swear by? Is your car a member of your family, or am I just a crackpot?