A day marked by triumph being crushed by disappointment

Meeting the car-buying folks after work today in bellevue. I’ve been stressing and not sleeping and running around haphazardly trying to get all the paperwork in order, calling the insurance company, faxing things for Dad to sign. My parents have been graciously patient with my franticness, and Patrick has been so generous as to lend me his jeep today so i have i ride home from the bank. I’m going to drive it around for a week getting his for-sale signs some eyeball time, since Clint’s honda is having water pump issues and i can’t borrow it just yet. I’m hugely in debt to both of them for being so generous and for being such solid guys about the whole thing.

I really need all of this to be over, as it’s turning me into a freak show. Yesterday i raced home after a visit to the DMV to pick up title transfer forms, only to call my buyer and find out i had the wrong forms and had to go back. So i booked it back down the sidewalk, only to reach the car and remember my keys were still lying where i’d thrown them on my bed. And the door was locked. Neat. Both Josh and Kim wouldn’t be home for several hours. I spent a bit pacing around the house, studying screens and doorknobs, looking for an opportunity, but despite its age and generally poor maintenance history, our house is actually pretty secure (as Kim and i have confirmed one other time, too). I did luck out, however, that my bedroom windows weren’t latched, although in my paranoid-neurotic way they are still secured with sash locks that prevent any more than 2″ of free movement. So, standing in the bushes (getting wet until i turned off the stupid soaker hose – i hate our landlord’s watering scheme), i could pull the curtains back and see the keys there on the bed about 8 feet away. Struck suddenly by inspiration, i scoured the yard for small sticks, of which there were of course none. But i did find a bundle of bamboo plant stand thingies under a zillion cobwebs by the back door. After floundering about the yard yanking randomly at longish grass for a bit, i found some that seemed pretty sturdy, and in a very boyscout/macguyver fashion i lashed together a long pole out of three of the plant brace stick things and some colorful (and very sharp) weeds the landlord probably paid a small fortune for at some yuppie greenhouse. And on the first try, the keys were in my hand, but not before the window sash left some nasty cuts in my arm (metal window stripping – what were we thinking in the 40s??). And i was back on the road, giggling at my own success and trying not to bleed on the clean car.

I have the correct forms now, and all the paperwork in a nice pile. I just need to pretend to work for a few hours to pass the time and try not to think about anything on my todo list. Is it friday yet?

U P D A T E:
Okay, that completely sucked. Leaving home in the Maxima for the last time. Parking it at work for the last time. Someone noticing my plates were changed and asking about it, so of course i had to tell them, which led to a whole discussion of why i had to sell it, prompting stories i didn’t need to hear about everyone else’s cars they’d wished they’d kept and what good deals they’d found in the past, etc. Thanks so much, gang, for the pity and the jabs. Then unlocking it for the last time, driving to bellevue and parking for the last time. A perfect parallel parking job, too, 2″ from the curb on the first try, no hits, in free street parking in the middle of downtown bellevue; good parking karma on an otherwise karma-free day. Locking up for the last time, walking away for the last time – looking back, of course, at how great it looks parked there, shiny and black, sleek and powerful, curvy and… not mine. Signing the papers, blah blah, handling huge wads of cash, feeling cold and detached like how bankers must feel when they forclose on their friends or put a family on the street with a flick of the pen. Walking the buyer to where his Maxima is parked. Emptily demonstrating the valet key, the trunk release, the jack tools, like a disheartened car salesman who’s earning someone else’s commission. Sitting on the curb while he drives it away. Shiny, curvy, sexy, sweet, rolling past me, mirrored in the glass of the buildings and the welling in my eyes. Slumping there on the curb, feeling the concrete drain the warmth away. Watching the taillights fade into traffic, sliding away into anonymity and eternity. Yeah, that really sucked.

My reality toll has come due

The Maxima is no longer mine. Its new owners gave me earnest money last nite, and i’ll meet with them on tuesday to hand over the keys and process the paperwork. I’ll wash it one last time this weekend and then park it until tuesday. Clint has been nice enough to lend me his honda while i shop for something.

I feel it only fair to warn you that i haven’t slept much lately for so many reasons, and that when sleep deprived i tend to the melodramatic and verbose. So with that in mind…

I’ve sold my baby, my brand new car, my Maxima. I’m torn between rejoicing that i’ll be free of the burden of that debt – from the monthly expenses and the upside-down value and the years of payments remaining – or being overly sentimental about the loss of a dear friend – one that has served me faithfully and tirelessly for the last three years; that has never failed to start or left me stranded; that has carried and protected and spoiled me asking little in return; that has been one of the few bastions of peace, order and stability in my life in the last couple roller-coaster years; that has always been a safe place, a private place and a comfort zone for me, no matter how un-comforting my home, work or personal life has become; that has played such a defining role in my identity and been my connection to a community of people i have come to greatly value; that has been an endless source of hobby, enjoyment and fun; that has provided me with such pride in its newness, niceness, and beauty; that has treated me so well. All the late nights in bad weather that it brought me home safely and without worry. All the cold mornings when it started without hesitation, and all the hot days when it worked so hard to keep me cool. The damage, wear and weather it has suffered because i couldn’t provide a very good home, and the loving detail with which i have endeavored to counteract those forces. I can’t believe i’m losing my brand new car, and not because it ever failed me, or because i have any complaint about it or desire to see it go. Rather, simply because our cruel world that is run by accountants and tax collectors dictates that the magic numbers next to my name don’t have the means to keep something this nice. Because my career is a joke, that expensive degree isn’t paying off at all, and because life is never what we plan or hope or dream – always what happens in the meantime when we’re not paying attention. Somewhere in the last three years i’ve been too busy living a dream to pay attention to reality, and now reality has come to collect its toll, and the price is the only major thing in my life i’ve really been proud of in a long time. That i couldn’t even sell it for enough to pay off the loan is only icing on a cake i would rather never have tasted. Maxima, you have been a true friend and i will miss you a great deal – i wish you many more happy miles in a home with the means to treat you as you deserve.