Driving and Biking in the Big City

Vinny drives away into the sunset

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The beloved and loyal Vinny

The beloved and loyal Vinny

I’m a pretty sentimental person and a tragic romantic who fights daily to stay away from my Jerry Springer, drama-rama side that is my trailer park heritage. I have broken the cycle, haven’t I?  But today, I’m fighting away my emotional “hissy fit” at the loss of Vinny, my trusty steed and commuting companion of 10 years. Two of the local yard-doers, clearly all cleaned up to make an honorable impression and a good deal, surprised me with a cash offer yesterday  that I eventually took.

I never even put a “for sale” sign on Vinny, the 2003 Xterra that was in pretty pristine condition despite an odometer reading of 175,000-plus miles. It would have taken a lot for me to make the effort to sell him, but the idea had started crossing my mind on occasion. Perhaps it was fate who led these guys to my house yesterday to say they’d noticed the Xterra had been parked for a while, and they wondered if it was for sale. They said they were from Brownsville and did some work in the neighborhood but mostly didn’t expect to be back for a while. Could we make the deal right away? They had cash if I had papers.

On first sniff I sent them away, thinking I had a lot of thinking to do. It took a couple of hours for me to decide it would be the right thing, an easy thing to let him go on to his Chapter 2. They were making it easy for me to say goodby. And me, I needed to let go. Vinny was getting less and less use. He was my main go-to guy for trips to the vet with hounds Patsy and Tucker or to parks and neighborhoods to keep my walks from being so routine. But honestly, the last time I’d picked up my hounds from the vet, I’d taken Clarence, out of convenience.

So, the new owner was delighted when I called back and agreed he could take Vinny away that day. Vinny fired up after a false start or two because he hadn’t been driven lately. Eventually, he roared to life, and his new owner knew he’d gotten a good deal and a much beloved ride. I even told the two, later three, rustic gentlemen his name, Vinny, and explained that I’d named him for Vin Diesel the year that the movie XXX came out.  I laughed while all the men — including my husband — rolled their eyes at my love for my fire-engine red vehicle that had become a beloved, living and breathing character in my life.

I told them how important Vinny was/is to me. How he’d delivered me safely through the terrible weather and flooding in Houston. How Vinny had been the winner in four different rear-enders during heavy Houston commuting. How he’d taken me on the eight to 10-hour drive to Lubbock during the years my daughter was at Texas Tech and how he and I had traveled, often alone, to Galveston to stare at the beach.

A native Texan whose five-year out-of-state experience was in Motor City, I’ve always considered my vehicles personal — a speedy limb to my body. I love to drive, and I love my cars. A bit of a control freak, I always had to have the kids in my car, later my tennis team and most recently my co-workers. If we are going somewhere, I want to drive. And, as an old cop reporter, I’m used to traveling the roads alone as frequently as not. I’ve never minded hopping in my car to chase a hurricane or a tornado or to cover a murder or head to the violent part of town. And, back in those days, my traveling companion was never as reliable as Vinny. He is a tough act for Clarence to follow.

The spot in the driveway  where he’s been sitting mostly idle since I bought Clarence is depressingly vacant today. The purple and gold shrub that sat beside him for the last few months has spread hugely  across the driveway to need a trim. Today, he’s exploring new trails with new companions. And, if I get the chance to glance him on the roadways again, I will know he’s my old friend. The road is long.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm

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