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Bye-bye to the Camry
Yet another transition in a year that had been full of them. Mostly expected, but still -- it's been busy.

I sold Jane's car (the Matrix) to Jesse and Rachel a few months ago. And the tow truck came to take my car away this morning:
Bye, bye...
This one was *not* expected, but wasn't a deep surprise either. I brought the car in for inspection in September, and it failed spectacularly. There was the usual stuff like the brakes getting low. There was the less-usual but to-be-expected stuff like the timing belt nearing the end of its life. And there was the not-expected stuff, like the wear on the axle. (Which, admittedly, was partly due to me putting off some service earlier this year due to cashflow crunch.) All told, they quoted me $4700 to get the car back up to full snuff -- way more than my usual cap of $3000/year on maintenance.

And the truth is, we don't really *need* two cars. I'm working at home; Kate's working on the T and hates driving anyway. So we had already started to discuss dropping back to just her Honda when my car died (plus probably a ZipCar membership for the occasional need); this just accelerated that plan.

I put it off until after the honeymoon, but I called WGBH on Monday, and the process of donating my car proved to be near-trivial so long as I had the title and there wasn't any lien on it. The fact that the car was out of inspection and didn't drive well was considered totally ordinary; indeed, my impression was that, given that the battery, engine and tires were still fine (that is, it is still *possible* to drive it), it was considered better than average. I don't expect it to be worth a ton, but it seems to be win-win all around: WGBH gets a bit of money from it, I get a tax deduction, and they arranged to haul it away.

I'm going to miss it: that was a *sweet* car. Horribly overpowered for my needs -- I'd bought a V6 on the theory that we would tow a trailer to Pennsic, only to quickly decide that that was a bad plan -- but it drove magnificently. I suspect I'll never find another that I consider quite so intuitive and comfortable. But the truth is, I'm a lot less car-centric than I used to be.

Of course, there's also a small pang for the license plate, which I just returned to the RMV an hour ago:

It was beat up and rusty, but it's the plate I'd had pretty much since Jane and I got married, so it carried its own strange sentimental value. (Right down to the quarter-inch-thick stack of expiration stickers in the upper right.) The screws had rusted too badly for either me or the tow driver to unscrew them, so he dealt with the problem through the simple expedient of ripping it right off. It's going to be weird not having that number, given how deeply I've got it in my head.

Of course, I am still a creature of tradition, and I have my priorities. (And Kate indulges me, at least in moderation.) So the Felding Taxi Corps tag has been transferred to our Honda. (Its fourth car so far.) The yellow has practically faded to white with time, but it's still one of my favorite reminders of simpler days gone by, and the little services that I've always considered most important. Ultimately, I think I consider that the signifier of "my car" more than anything else...


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