Tuesday, May 26, 2009
End of an Era
This weekend, I drove my failing, ailing, broken-down 1995, 200,000 mile silver-blue hand-me-down Mercury Grand Marquis upstate to retire her.
I loved that car. Her gigantitude. Her seats like two parallel couches. Her V8 engine, her 0-60 in 1.5 seconds pick up. The way she smelled--snacks and Febreze. The way I got flagged for a gypsy cab on the Brooklyn streets. The way I was mistaken for a cop. How she taught me to parallel park like a savant (ever parked a Grand Marquis between two Mini Coopers with an inch to spare on either end? Without touching bumpers, not even once? No, I didn't think so. But I have). The terrible gas mileage. The rear-wheel-drive bad traction. The road trips, blazing down the highway, engine purring. The local trips, blazing up 4th Avenue smoking out the window. She gravitated naturally to 75 mph, that was her sweet spot, where she was at her very best. I really was cool in that car. Whoever expected to see a young lady behind the wheel of an old lady's Florida-retirement-complex-behemoth?
It all began to go downhill a few years ago, around the time of the first breakdown. She stopped running in traffic on the Long Island Expressway. And then proceeded to break down every few months from then on. In a car wash (yes, in a car wash). On the highway. On the local roads. Six breakdowns in two years.
I tended to her, spent thousands of dollars trying to save her. But she just won't make it any longer. In a couple of weeks, I'll join the drab masses in a new compact silver Toyota. She'll get good gas mileage, and she won't break down. But in this new car, I'll be somehow a little less Leah...
Goodbye, Grand Marquis, you were one grand lady.
*Photo: "Frosty Mercury" by Boozysmurf, Flickr Creative Commons