I never thought I’d get so attached to a car I never wanted.
Back in 2011, I totaled my 2000 Honda Civic on Kalaniana‘ole Highway. I had had that car for 11 years — and suddenly, it was gone.
I didn’t occur to me then how attached I was to my Civic. I had reluctantly bought the car — used — and had even tried to sell it a couple of times to no avail. It was a coupe, too small, too low to the ground, I complained. But I could fit my longboard inside of it, no problem. And I moved several times with the help of that little car. It was a trooper, and I had grown to love it.
I almost cried when it got hauled away, wishing I could drive it one last time.
My then-boyfriend was driving a 2003 Nissan Murano, a mid-size crossover SUV that he had long admired. I wasn’t much of a fan. Compared to my Civic, this was a tank, hard to drive and maneuver, almost impossible to parallel park. He liked it because it was safe, well-built and aesthetically pleasing. And since he was getting his Ph.D. in Wisconsin, the all-wheel-drive feature on the Murano was particularly useful should he ever decide to ship his car to the Mainland.
But he didn’t. It stayed here. And it worked out just perfectly since I now didn’t have a car of my own.
Fast-foward a couple of years — we got married and divorced — and he graciously let me keep the Murano while he stayed in Wisconsin. I was incredibly grateful, though I secretly fantasized about replacing it with something smaller and easier to park.
But over the years, something happened. I got attached.
The Murano is almost the exact opposite of my old Civic. It’s bulky, heavy and imposing. It’s huge and tall and not easy to get into.
But on the flip side, I always felt safe in it. I knew other cars could actually see me. I could lug just about the entire contents of my rental in it. And whenever I pulled up to a fast-food drive-through window, I was eye-to-eye with the cashier. It felt good.
It reliably carried three dogs and me to Makapu‘u most mornings. It securely housed my longboard. And it safely got me from place to place, providing a comfortable ride and always with ice-cold air-conditioning.
But like with most older cars, the Murano was seeing its final days. And it was time to move on.
I resisted. My husband had long wanted me to get a newer car. It would be safer, more reliable. It would give me — meaning, him — peace of mind.
The idea of buying a new car — and I’ve never had a new car in my life — had been unthinkable. A car depreciates in value as soon as you drive it off the lot, and I figured it would be more worthwhile financially to maintain my old Murano instead of ditch it altogether and get a new one.
But despite my argument to keep it, the reasons for letting it go won out.
Last night, I drove to the Honda dealership in Kāneʻohe and traded it in for a new Honda Fit.
As ridiculous as this sounds, I actually teared up.
Who gets attached to cars like this? It’s crazy! But there I was, running my hand over the contours of the car one last time. I thought about how the dogs would sleep in the backseat after a long, hot hike. I thought about the Christmas trees, bicycles, surfboards, fishing gear and groceries it had carried. I thought about how much this car has been part of my life for the past six years. I snapped one last photo, took a deep breath and let it go.
I had to.
I’ve got a new car to obsess over.