I've been mentally preparing myself for this event for a while. The Altima, you see, was my first car. And at the time, I was a Californian. Put the two together, and you have a sacred rite of passage, more significant than anything else that happens in youth. Even if you live in a place that isn't saturated with car culture, even if the stoichiometric ratio is not in your DNA, your first car is something special. It's fun. It's freedom. It's enough responsibility to make you feel serious, mature, important, maybe for the very first time.
That's what I got on December 17, 1999, and again almost exactly 4 years ago, in this form...
Here we have the good side:
The not-so-good side:
and the final score, within a few miles or so:
The Altima has been the catalyst for a long list of "good old days". All my friends from high school, and many friends from college rode in it, all over 4 western states. From the beach, to the mountains, to the desert, it's carried musical equipment, groceries, things it was never meant to carry, and at one time, all my earthly possessions. It's lived in every state I've lived in. The albums of all my favorite bands have been played to death on those speakers. Every girl I've ever loved has sat in that passenger seat, sometimes late at night.
Many of the ups and downs of my youth and young adulthood played out with this car in the background, or even the foreground.
So it's no wonder that our friend is tired. It's time for it to drive off into the sunset. More than that, even, it has become the casualty of pragmatism. It's worth more to me as cash than as transportation. Obviously you can't put a price on memories, but the memories will be there just the same either way.
Ah yes, the memories. The time when me, Leslie, and her friend Becky who was visiting from North Carolina, stole a wooden pallet and ran it down to the beach in the back seat for a bonfire. The time when Joey ran full speed into the corner of the open passenger door and burst a blood vessel in his arm (still sorry about that one, man). The seminary carpools. The drag racing (the folly of youth). The late-night toilet-papering missions. The back-and-forth trips to Orange County, to the Salt Lake airport, to rock shows, to Guitar Center. The breakdowns, the repairs. The minor collisions, the repairs. So many, many repairs.
It seems likely that I'll sell it tomorrow. If I don't, it shouldn't be long after that. So, Altima, the point is... me and all of those people I mentioned, whether they know it or not, bid you a fond farewell.