Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My car's odometer stood at that number when I parked outside Kyle's apartment yesterday night, which seems auspicious in that it's the mark at which I had put exactly 100,000 miles on the vehicle: When I bought it from a Fairfax, VA Honda dealership in, I think, the late spring of 2003 it had 36,036 miles on it.

I at least got to watch the odometer roll over this time, unlike with the transition into six-figure mileage. My feelings about the milestone are low in magnitude and mixed in nature. At the 72,072 point I felt like I was making the car actually mine -- not to the degree that paying off the car loan, hopefully the first and only of my life, did -- but my attitude towards increased mileage has long since flipped from "this vehicle is more and more mine" to "I am depreciating the most significant item I have ever paid for". Still, there remains a good feeling that the 2000 Civic is a very good car for the money, especially when the title's in someone else's name when it drives off the lot the first time. It's increasingly odd that anyone owned it previously to me, if only because it meant bailing on a then-four-year-old workhorse of a passenger vehicle with only 36K miles on it. Who does that, buy a lower-mid-size Honda without intending to use it for as long as possible? I certainly hope myself, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin once said about a real live human being, to run it until the wheels come off, hopefully not at highway speed. It's a good car, and I should take better care of it -- just in terms of surface appearance, it is rather full of leaf litter at the moment and covered in patches by a sort of algal patina, a result of being parked outside during a rainy Portland winter that has lasted for about the past sixteen months, which gives it an aspect not unlike Swamp Thing -- but it's holding up as expected and will hopefully last for several years more.

Where did all those miles go? I don't feel a lot of nostalgia for them, and hence not a lot of urge to calculate them out, but they mainly would have been paced off in a numbing loop along the I-66 / Dulles Toll Road corridor in Northern Virginia, in direct analogy to my career. Some back-of-the-envelope crunching suggests I've approximately halved my yearly driving distance since moving to Portland, to which I say "right on"; doing away with driving to work was a major reason for moving here, after all, or I should say a major reason I moved here instead of putting the screws to Kyle to join me in the Greater-D.C. 'burbscape. I would happily drive less still, since I just haven't ever enjoyed driving as an end in itself under any circumstances whatsoever, and I'd like to think that if I relocated someplace where car ownership were actually difficult I would dispassionately sell the Civic without a sentimental thought. I probably would feel a pang, though. The car, or rather a sort of intuitive, animistic concept of the car as a fellow being, does seem to have wormed its way somewhat into my heart.


Blogger Jack said...

I'm still happy to have not owned a car during this entire time. If nothing else, I don't have to worry about algae growing on it. When I do have to break down and get one, I suspect it'll be a similarly reliable, unsexy kind of a car.

5/25/2011 9:32 PM  
Blogger Don said...

It's clearly time to install a giant spoiler, some sort of fuel-wasting, engine-destroying modification to the induction system, and a NATEDOG license plate.

5/26/2011 4:02 PM  
Blogger nate said...

Okay, yeah, that's the other thing people buy Civics for.

A belated R.I.P. for Nate Dogg, incidentally. I've been inexorably linked to him through casual nicknaming since high school and felt an odd sort of empathy because of that when I learned he passed, even though I still don't really know what G-funk is.

5/26/2011 4:26 PM  

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