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Posted: June 19, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Goodbye to an Italian beauty

Maybe it's a general character flaw shared by many, but I hate to get rid of a cherished old car, no matter how much trouble it causes me.

When I love a car, my loyalties are boundless. I've remained loyal to a truck with a broken air-conditioner, a sedan that leaked oil all over my driveway and a van that ate tires for breakfast.

I've remained especially loyal to my sports cars.

Still, the love eventually fades, and the relationship ends.

That hurts.

I know it does. I'm still missing a temperamental Italian beauty that I was foolish enough to lose over 25 years ago.

Back in the '80s, I owned a hot little Italian car, a limited edition Alfa Romeo.

She was powerful, fast, beautiful and thrilling to drive. She was also rusting in places she shouldn't rust, recovering from a blown engine, and begging for expensive maintenance.

Once, her speedometer cable broke, and I had to special-order a replacement all the way from Italy.

Eventually, I decided to sell my temperamental beauty.

But when I couldn't end our relationship with a simple newspaper ad, I decided to visit one of those corner used car lots to make a quick break.

When I parked on the lot, a crusty old man came over and shook my hand.

As I asked him what he thought of my cute little Italian, I noticed his filthy nails and a half-empty pint of liquor in his coat pocket.

He cranked my Alfa and let her idle a bit. But instead of test driving her, he turned the engine off, handed me the key and said, "Ain't interested."

As he walked back to his dirty cinderblock office, I was in a state of shock.

"Ain't interested?" You don't deserve her!

A few weeks later, I sold my Italian beauty to a sculptor who recognized her potential.

As he wrote the check, someone joked that he should turn the Alfa into an abstract sculpture.

He laughed. I laughed too.

But a big part of me was hurting as I watched him drive off with my car.

It's hard enough to say goodbye to an Italian beauty, but it's even harder when she's wearing her brand new speedometer cable, a very expensive present that you had shipped all the way from her homeland, just because you loved her.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers. He can be reached a tdavmccoy@bellsouth.net.

 

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