20 June 2016

[VW] The Very Last Day Of A Very Good VW Beetle

And so, back in May, two days after my natal day, after the decision to go with the total loss, decision from the insurance company, we went to retrieve things and pay our final respects to Old Red.

We all find out things we didn't know about ourselves at milestones like this. This car, which was my daily driver, served me very well for more than a decade. It was something of an heirloom. My late father raised me to be a Volkswagen lover, it was one of the few gifts he gave me that I still have to this day.

During die Zeit zwischen den Kaefern, I also learned that the mere sight of a classic VW made me smile (nothing is as good as driving and having one, but when you're in the desert, my friends, any glass of water will do). There is a spot that I will always, now, specifically remember, it's the spot where I had that accident. And, across from that corner and only one lot north is a house. This house has several residents who are coming and going to disparate places: there are four cars there, and they're always changing places. And one of them is a yellow '74 (or later) VW Beetle. With a roof rack. Totally adorable. And I would take this route just to see it.

By the way, you know how you tell a post 1974 from a pre-1974 VW Type I? Look for the windshield. If it's bowing out, it's '74 or later; flat windscreens are a feature of '73 and earlier.

File that away.

The other thing I realized is, though I'm a very materialistic person (in the way that things are just things and I tend not to give teleological imperatives to things like cars and computers and such), in things like this, I'm the same sentimental, spirit-imbuing sap that just about everyone I've ever known is. As I approached Old Red one last time, I gave her regrets. I said I of all the ways I figured our relationship would end, this definitely was not what I wanted. I sat in the drivers seat one last time. Looked all around; the German flag sticker that I affixed upside down; the instrument binnacle, remembering all the times during cold, damp weather the moisture would collect behind the glass; the red-velvet upholstery; the gas tank I had to fill by opening the bonnet. All that. All that meant something, and maybe it's the culture I was steeped in or the innate human need to have inanimate objects care about us back, but it was my experience, and for a few moments, it was for real.

When I walked away, I also did not look back. No damned reason other than sentimentality.

Now, I'm one with a very pretty yellow '72 VW and I'm so far very happy. We lucked in finding someone who needed to sell at the time we needed to buy, and the owners who had it before him took near-immaculate condition, at least as much one can reasonably expect. No complaints so far. She's the daily driver. She has a new radio. She has her quirks, of course, but I think that's why us classic VW drivers drive them. We love cars with character.  And, of course, nothing cuts a figure like a classic VW Beetle. It makes adults smile and makes kids hit each other on the bicep.

She's a different car, but I swear I feel the spirit of the old one riding along with me.

Old Red was a very good car for a very long time. I have a feeling Yellow will be a very car for at least as long as Red was.

And so it goes.

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