I got a new car yesterday, though when I say “I got” I mean my “parents bought me”, and when I say “new” I mean “used, 2005 model”.
It’s still a new car. For the past three years, I’ve been driving a purple 1994 Chevy Cavalier jokingly and sincerely called “the Purple Stallion”. Two doors, manual windows (which didn’t always roll down the right way), electric locks that didn’t fully lock or unlock, and most notably, a passenger side that filled up the floor board with water whenever it rained. But it was a great car because it was mine. I don’t know anything about cars, but I knew that car. I knew that when you put it in drive, you have to push the stick up until it clicks or else it would slide into second. I knew how long it took to accelerate, how much the car would turn when I turned the wheel, how quick it would stop (unless it was wet, then I knew how the brakes would pop if I tried to slow down). It was a great car and when I found out I was getting a new one, I was sad.
The new one is a 2005 Chevy Cavalier, so it’s not that different and in absolutely every way, it is superior to my old car. Everything works, everything works better. It feels like a perfect car. I understand that it’s not, but to me, it is. It’s like amazing in every aspect. Driving it home for the first time, I noticed how quiet it was, how easy it accelerated (it’s just a four cylinder, but it’s smooth). I played with a few things, but the blinker, lights, window wipers and such are all in the same places. It wasn’t until I actually got home and sat in the driveway listening to the stereo in the car (all four speakers work, whereas in my other one, only the back did) looking around at everything did it really hit me what I had. And I cried. I did, like I little girl, I started crying. I was that happy.
But the truth is, I’m still sad about my old car. I’m not sad because I’d rather drive it, but I’m sad because I can’t drive it and drive my new one. Maybe you can call that greed, but I don’t think it is. I’m sad about what I’m losing, even though I’m replacing it with something that exceeds it in every way. It’s the loss of the good that bothers me, exclusive, positive alternatives. Driving my new car is great, but what about the old one?
I guess every aspect of life is like that, even getting older. You’re always upgrading into a newer model and with any luck, it’s better than what came before it. But you miss the things you have to leave behind, not because they’re necessarily any better than what you have now, but just because they were good while you had them. Being in elementary wasn’t better than being in high school, high school hasn’t been better than college. But I still miss them both because at the age I experienced them, they were everything that I knew and they were supremely familiar and comfortable.
I wouldn’t go back to them now, I won’t go back to my old car, either, but I still reserve the right to miss it.
RIP Purple Stallion, or at least drive well for your new master.