Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

May, 2014:

It’s the End of an Era

When last we spoke Michael was pulling rabbits from his hat, finding garage door parts stored away for decades but mercifully not forgotten. It turned out that there were also huge hurricane bars that were supposed to be added to that door. The original installer hadn’t utilized those either so that when the new guy hung the door with both springs it remained suspended in mid-air and wouldn’t fully close to the floor. (Sort of like a scuba diver without enough weight.) Calls to the manufacturer confirmed that the bars did indeed need to be installed. Michael pulled the last rabbit out by finding the bucket full of the brackets AND ALL of the screws to install the bars. And we could finally close the book on that last chapter of the garage door saga.

Now the garage door works. But we sold our car.

OK, that was for dramatic effect. We sold one of our cars. You know it too from a previous post. (http://whaddyadoallday.com/?p=521 ) This was our first car on island. We had just arrived to live full time. We were wasting money on rental cars. We needed to buy something fast and got lucky. At that time, the favorite vehicle of rental car agencies island-wide was a little Suzuki Vitara jeep. We figured that if the rental car agencies liked them (1) they couldn’t be very expensive; (b) we’d be able to get parts; and (3) someone would know how to fix them. Lord knows we didn’t want some fancy, high tech, computer-diagnostics needing, German parts requiring behemoth. (Even now the engine light on our other car is permanently illuminated because nobody can turn it off.)

We wanted the kind of car that I remember from my youth. The kind where you’d pop the hood and jiggle the choke with a screwdriver to get it started. (The Suzuki actually has a manual choke!) The kind where the air filter/engine exhaust hose is apparently considered an unnecessary embellishment. The kind where a guy could just fix it in his backyard because at the time even the legitimate mechanics on island worked out of their backyards. They just maybe had bigger backyards than the others.

That’s what we wanted. And that’s what we found. And then we neglected the poor thing. Thirteen years in my hands in this environment and I probably waxed her five or six times (likely all in the first two years). Yes, in California I washed and waxed my car constantly. But here it just seemed like such a sad waste of time – like making the bed. Why bother? Between the salt spray and the dirt roads it was a losing battle. So like making the bed, I’d only wash the car when friends were coming.

Ah yes, our poor friends would arrive after having left their nice big, clean, fancy cars in the United States and we’d make them claw their way into the tiny back seat of our tiny, two-seater car to tour around on the bumpy back (and front) roads of Anguilla with Michael sailing over the speed bumps and pot-holes giving everyone mild concussions to go with their rum-punch hangovers. Awww. Those were the days.  It brings a nostalgic tear to my eye reliving them now. Everyone would laugh and marvel and at how far we had come (or fallen) from our previous life. It was all so charming and romantic.

Thirteen years. That’s longer than I’ve ever owned a car before in my life. And that’s not to say that we were ever the kinds of people that replaced cars on a whim. After all, second place would go to my old Mitsubishi Eclipse that we sold at the age of 11 to move down here. But she lived an easier life on the paved roads of northern California with good hygiene and routine maintenance. Spoiled brat. Our little Suzuki left us at the ripe old age of 19 with windows that didn’t work, rotten floor boards, an air-conditioner that I pretty much forgot ever existed, and a radio that just filled a hole in the dash. But we kept her somewhat out of loyalty and because in this life we benefited from having a total beater car for hauling stuff to the dump or bringing plants home from the garden center and quite honestly, just having something else to drive when the newer car (that’s only 14 years old) was parked in someone else’s backyard for repairs.

Now we just have that other Subaru Outback (L.L. Bean version no less), and I feel I’ve lost something more than a car. I’ve lost a bit of that charm. I’ve lost a statement piece from my wardrobe. My old Mercedes was my LBD. My Suzuki was my crazy and colorful Moroccan caftan. And now I’m left with boring Bermuda shorts and a t-shirt. *Sigh*

So I let Michael handle the transaction. (Yes, we did actually get money for her still.) I couldn’t watch her go. Of course, she’s not going far. (Couldn’t even if she wanted to.) So it’s possible that I’ll see her driving down the road. And if I do, I’ll be happy for her…still out there with the sun in her headlights and the wind coming through her eternally open windows. But it just won’t ever be the same.

Catch you on the flip side, my friend. Thanks for a great ride.

car now