There comes a time in every car's life when it must be backed out of the garage for the very last time. When it must embark upon that final road trip. When it's ultimately more of a granola bar wrapper, old newspaper, train ticket stub, and juice bottle collector than functional vehicle.
And for my 15-year old Mercury Topaz, that time has come. Despite the fact that she's a pretty little thing, even still.
Okay yes, there are a couple of rust patches over her back wheel wells and her roof is starting to peel a bit, but when she's washed, she still shines proudly. Well, most of her. Her back end is a little scratched where My Beloved used her as a surface to cut tiles for the kitchen backsplash almost three years ago (don't ask - I was in the grips of all-day morning sickness at the time and didn't give a rat's ass what was happening to my old beauty in the garage), but for a 15-year old car with backsplash tile damage, I think she's still pretty comely.
But thing is, we just don't need her anymore. My Beloved has been taking the bus to and from the train station (in an effort to reduce his ecological footprint and, I suspect, because he's a little embarrassed by the old gal) and so she's been sitting idle in the garage since November.
We finally made the decision to set her free last month. And last night we took her to the dealership where I used to get her serviced to see what we could get for her.
A smirk and $50 bucks was about it, as it turns out.
Now, I realize this is a 15-year old car and all - but it's a good car. It is!! It has a V-6 engine (which was completely replaced just three years and 8,000 km ago), a spare tire and a donut, a pristine (albeit kind of dirty) interior, cruise control (that I think I've used once) and power locks - almost all of which work. For 15 she's in fine shape, if I do say so myself. Even if My Beloved says otherwise.
I was insulted (a feeling I definitely associate with being at a car dealership). I did my best to fight for the old girl, but they stood firm, and so eventually we walked out.
On the drive home I decided that if I wasn't going to get a couple of hundred for her, then I wanted to donate her to a local high school with an auto shop class. It's a matter of principle. I know the car is worth more than $50 - even for scrap and parts alone - and I will not be taken advantage of. I'd rather get nothing for it than hand it over to some smirking jackass with a lazy eye and cheesy mustache.
You don't mess with the mother of a dead baby. Everything is a fight to the death.
And no, I don't know why. It just is.
So after not-so-quietly-fuming for an hour or so, I sat down at the computer to see if I could find a school that wanted her.
My first try was a high school in My Beloved's old home town, which seemed serendipitous, and so felt right. I e-mailed the shop teacher directly, turned off the computer and snuggled into bed feeling satisfied and, I admit it, a little smug at the thought of having beaten the smirker at his own game.
This morning I woke up to a less than enthusiastic reply. It seems the school just recently took possession of a Sherman tank
(yes, you read that correctly - a Sherman tank.), so the idea of a measly little '92 Topaz literally made the shop teacher yawn. He couldn't have sounded more disinterested if he tried. He agreed to take it, but was a little fuzzy on the details - like transferring ownership and all that. More underwhelmed he could not have been. I mean, I know it's technically an old clunker, but it's still a free car, for God's sake.
After a brief discussion with My Beloved, we decided to continue the search.
I spent an hour or so looking up high schools a little closer to home (which isn't a half bad idea since we're not entirely sure it would have been all that safe to drive her as far as My Beloved's old stomping grounds anyway) and came up with another potential new home.
I e-mailed the principal late this morning. A few hours later I got a short reply indicating that the shop teacher had been notified and would contact us directly.
I haven't heard a word since. I guess my idea of "directly" and his are kind of different.
And so here we are. We can't sell it and apparently we can't give it away either.
With any luck the second school will happily take her off our hands. That's my hope. But if not, uh, is anyone else interested? C'mon now, I know there's got to be someone out there who wants the old girl. All she needs is a little TLC. And maybe a little paint touch-up on her rear end where the tile cutter and My Beloved worked their magic.