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04 September, 2007

Bittersweet goodbyes

What a weird week of transitions. Tonight I sold my car. To the first person who saw it. Lucky for me, because it didn't take much effort to unload it. And all things considered, I received a fair payment for the age and condition of the car. It's just strange saying goodbye to it. It was mine, and now it's not. Three days ago, it was my means of transportation, and now it's someone else's. Someone named Anthony.

What a wangled teb we teave.

I remember buying it. I was living in Edgewater Hills, a gigantic apartment complex along the Framingham Reservoir overlooking Route 9 in Massachusetts. My Jetta was getting old, and unreliable, and I had started working at Raytheon in June of 1993, and I guess this was a year later - funny, I didn't think it was that long. Now I'm confused. Hm... I know my car was purchased by me at the end of the model year, not the beginning, so it had to be 1994. Anyway, this is what happens when you get old.

Maybe I did buy it in 1993? Hmph. It would make more sense with the other history surrounding it. So, I got the car, and I think I remember feeling weird that time too. I ended up driving out to Amherst to give Luisa my old car, which actually was sold to me by Luisa's sister, Wanda, back in 1991 (the 1985 Jetta). There was this continual musical cars routine that went on in that family. Wanda sold me the Jetta, bought herself a Hyundai. I gave Luisa my Tercel. Then the Tercel died, and she bought herself another Tercel that was even older than mine. Then I think she had the Hyundai. And when I bought my Corolla, she got the Jetta. Then she married some architect whose name was Cheney, long before that was a swear word. I don't really remember any of this as well as I thought. I think Luisa drove to Framingham, and we drove separate cars so that she could get the Jetta from me, and then she gave me a ride back? I don't know. This isn't making any sense to me. I just remember, I think, that this might have been the last time I actually *saw* Luisa. I have never told you anything about Luisa. Bet you're curious, huh?

So the acquisition of the Corolla is sort of tied up in the same memory as the end of Luisa.

The Corolla took me from Boston to Seattle in 1999, when my life went from Engineer to Biologist. It took me away from family, friends, relationships (but not Ozone), into the Great Unknown. It was a scary time, and for those 8 days, the Corolla was my only home. I spent many days in downtown Boston in the late 90's, when I was dating Sarah (another one you haven't heard about), waiting in the car on Beacon Hill for her to get ready. In fact, one vivid memory is of the night that we got in a car accident in Central Square in a torrential downpour. There was this road that was 2 lanes in one direction, and 1 lane in the other direction, and I was in the left lane, and got into a (minor) head on collision with an out-of-state driver who couldn't see the lane markers and thought she was on her own side of the road. Didn't total my Corolla. But Sarah and I got into a huge fight. We had already been arguing, and the rain was somehow messing up our plans, and then the crash, and like a big asshole, I think I blamed her. I had (and maybe still have, though I'd like to think, less so) a tendency to get really angry at myself when I do something wrong, and to "address" this problem by being fucking nasty to everyone around me - especially loved ones. Ask any loved one, and they'll attest.

I really have become much better - it's one way in which I have evolved, I am happy to say.

But that night, the big fight, and poor Sarah (who wasn't particularly nice, or smart, herself) didn't know what to do. All she knew how to do was stonewall when I got like that. She didn't yell, she didn't usually initiate battles herself, she was just the master stonewaller. So the Corolla has lots of memories from that era.

I don't know why I am mentioning that. Maybe the accident.

I don't feel like talking about the rest of the history right now. I'm just feeling a bit strange having said goodbye to that car, because along with it went pieces of my life. Memories that are now replaced with a shiny new black car that has no personality of its own, and means nothing to me.

But the interesting thing about just how fast we humans adapt is that when I got in my Corolla to drive it over to where I was making the sale, it already felt foreign. The clutch felt really stiff. The seat was strange. The shift was in a weird position. It felt tight and small and old. And it's only been 3 days. My Mazda is my car now. And my brain already knows it, even if my mind doesn't.

This was another weird week for me in general. I realize I'm lumping things into one blog here, but either you're gonna read it as one blog, or you probably wouldn't read it if it were 6 blogs, so there you go.

I have this tendency in my life to keep having major things happening in clusters. Maybe that happens to everyone, but it feels much harder when it happens to me, because when it happens to me, it's me.

Back in 2006, I ended a long-term relationship, finished my Ph.D., took a trip to Europe, moved to a new residence, and started a postdoc, all in the span of a few short months. In 1999, I quit a job, did 2 internships in areas completely unfamiliar to me, moved across the country, started graduate school, and made a whole new set of friends, in a span of a few short months. In 2007, I ended an engagement, moved, and started a new job all in the same month. And now, again in 2007 (much less significantly), I ended another (short) relationship, bought a new car, said goodbye to an old car, and (more significantly) started dealing (poorly) with news of my mother being unwell back in Boston. Every time another round of changes occurs, I feel like I become more and more adept at dealing with them. But I am not sure that I am emotionally processing them better, or if I am just not processing them at all. Probably the latter.

I'm not asking anyone for sympathy or advice, honestly. That's not why I am writing this. I am writing this for me. And you get to see it because you're here. Part of this is my own processing machinery, and part of it is that I guess everyone has their issues, and maybe if I write about some of mine, good or bad, then it makes everyone else feel a little more connected? I probably shouldn't give myself that much credit. I don't think it comes down to voyeurism as to why people read it. Not even necessarily entertainment either.

Okay. Enough for now. I feel like Dumbledore with the pensieve. It's getting late, Harry, and that is all that I am going to show you tonight.

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