Coffee heat rising

The Empty Garage

{sigh} It’s strangely disorienting to walk into the garage to toss the trash in the recycling bin and find the darned place empty. Vacant. Lonely.

The Dog Chariot is down at Chuck’s Auto Service, there to have its oil leak diagnosed.

Weird, isn’t it, how one develops an affection for inanimate objects? (Or does one? Maybe I’m crazy as a loon!)

My favorite car was the beautiful little Camry I gave to my son at the time I bought the Dog Chariot. I loved that car: gave it a name, “Katydid,” because its license plate (the first I’d ever bought on my own, as an independent person!) started with the letters KTD. But in due course I had to have a vehicle that was large enough that Anna the German Shepherd couldn’t stand on back seat, plant her muzzle next to my ear, and bark (nonstop!) in the decibel range of a nuclear blast.

LOL! Buying a minivan so Anna couldn’t deafen me had a lot to do with the 40 grand I spent on that animal during her lifetime. Hence the sobriquet the thousand-dollar-a-day dog.

At the outset, I wasn’t nuts about the Sienna, an ungainly, lumbering, gas-guzzling bison. Looked like and drove like a suburban mom’s car-pooling bus. Oh well.

But over time, it grew on me. It has a lot of room: room to haul junk around, room to haul not one but two ninety-pound dogs, room to sleep in when you’re car-camping and a scary lightning storm blows up. With its Camry chassis, it’s one helluva lot more comfortable to ride in than a Suburban or a Land Cruiser or a Chevy van (all of which I’ve driven endlessly). And it puts plenty of steel between me and my fellow homicidal drivers.

It is, in short, like a good man: maybe not so rakishly handsome, but kindly, capacious of heart, and reliable.

Last time the cost of gas went through the stratosphere, I took out three of the four back bucket seats, by way of relieving the vehicle of some weight. The effect was to create a cargo bay the size of a limestone cave. Never put them back. It seems to have worked. Despite the car’s decrepitude, this morning I calculated that it made almost 21 mpg over the past two weeks’ worth of exclusively in-town driving. Not bad, for a tank with an EPA rating of 18 mpg.

So, it makes me feel sad not to have the Dog Chariot sitting in its familiar place, right next to the water heater in the garage. (Yeah. I know.) (There’s a fire door between the garage and the house. Yes.) And I guess that’s why I don’t feel in any great hurry to run out and buy a new car, even though it’s past time to get one and even though my financial dude says I can afford it.

Nothing lasts forever, of course. Not even you and me. But I’m going to miss that car when it’s gone.

2 thoughts on “The Empty Garage”

  1. I remember your old dog from earlier days on your blog. Every day you can put off buying another car is a good thing.

    Does your son still have the camry? Ours is from 1998. Love it.

  2. @ frugalscholar: Katydid was murdered by a teenaged girl who, not paying attention to what she was doing while driving and yakking with her friends, crashed into the Camry and totaled it and two other cars (and her own) that were parked on the street.

    Result: My son is now driving a junker.

    It’s been one damnfool thing after another for that kid.

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