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. And I’ve remained especially loyal to my sports cars. But eventually the love fades, and the relationship ends. And 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.