Sunday, September 21, 2008
They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’m not sure what relevance that has to the following story but it does bring to mind images of endurance, Cal Ripken, and stamina. By the way, the word stamina really should be used more than just on the cover of Cosmo and on the bottles containing those little blue pills. I also promise not to mention stamina and Cal Ripken again. It is kind of gross. Anyway, back to the news at hand.
On a humid afternoon in Joplin, MO, a local man toyed with history and won. Of course, that local man was I. On September, 14th at approximately 5.45pm my trusty 1996 Nissan Altima went where no American-made car has ever gone before: 200,000 miles. The moment happened (cue the NCAA tournament song “One Shining Moment” now) at the corner of 25th and Main Street. I immediately pulled over into the J-Town parking lot, did a victory lap around the building, gave a couple of high-fives to some drunk guys, kissed a few babies, kissed a few drunk guys, poured milk on my head, and then went home.
The Altima has been close for months. But my summer travel schedule and the fact that I bike to work as often as possible kept her near 199,000 for a couple of months. Yet the milestone could not be out of reach forever. She doesn’t take the road trips she once did. Back and forth to work is the extent of her travels these days.
I remember the first trip we took together. It was the summer of 1997 and my dad had just introduced us. He had finally sold the old little truck that he had and brought her home. I wasn’t old enough to drive yet but she guided us to Dallas and back that August. We’ve been together ever since.
The truth is, she wasn’t always my car. I inherited her when I went off to college because my 1987 Jeep Cherokee proved to be unsafe on the highway. We never looked back. In January 2001, she took a few guys to Miami FL. Curtis spilled sausage balls in the heating vent. We smelled like sausage the rest of the trip. This is not a good thing when you are 18 and trying to prove to women that you are 21. Remember kids, minors always smell like pork. Act accordingly.
She is a classic case of the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Dad always said that she would run for forever. He told tales of a guy who drove his Altima for 250,000 miles. The truth is, she is ugly.
I have become accustomed to rattles, toxins, and blinking lights. The airbag light has been on since 2004. The passenger side window rolls down but not up. That is a problem when going down the highway. The CD player, which was a wedding gift, installed by my friend Chad works sometimes. The tint is peeling. There are no hubcaps. She gets me from A to B. I don’t try to attempt C.
During an ice storm in 2004, I was walking out of my apartment to go to class early one morning. I slipped on a sheet of ice and desperately started grabbing for air on my way down. I grabbed the rearview mirror and ripped it off. Two weeks later, I glued it back on.
All in all, I have been in 3 fender benders, received 4 tickets, and kissed 2.4 girls in the Altima. She has been good to me. She is paid off. She is my worst enemy. She is my best friend. She is a good car. I have enjoyed every minute of our eleven years together. I doubt she has eleven more in her. But if she does, I’ll post picture of the 400,000 mark.