After almost three years, I am getting ready to sell Angela 4.0, and I'm not sure how I feel about this. I actually think I'm experiencing the stages of grief. This creature is like a pet to me, in her many forms. but especially in her red Chevrolet Venture form. This is the form she began as with Angela 1.0 back in 2005. She's been a lot of vehicles: 2 nearly identical Ventures, a Jeep Cherokee, 2 Buick Centuries of vastly different ages and conditions, and now we are finally making the full transition to her life as a Dodge Journey.
Angela 4.0 was like being reunited with an old friend when I found her on Craigslist. She was exactly the same. It was the most amazing feeling. Even friends who had known her well in her first form commented that it was like the first van never went away, 4.0 was even in the same condition 1.0 would have been in if I had owned her for ten years. She was a little rougher than I remembered, but she was enthusiastic.
That's been a common theme in Angela's mostly imaginary mechanical existence: her enthusiasm. When she transitions to a new body, some common things tend to happen: the horn goes out at some point (this hasn't happened yet for 4.0), and if there is a rear wiper, it will stop working. Even after she started to get sick, she would still press on when duty called.
I honestly feel like I failed her again. I let an idiot drive her first body drunk and she was fatally wounded protecting me from him. She delivered me in first gear to Muncie via back roads with parts of her ruined transmission falling off or dragging along the asphalt, so that I could get away from him. She finally succumbed to her injuries in an Aldi parking lot, where I was stupid and confused and broken enough to leave her to die and be towed away.
That was the last time I saw Angela 1.0: from the window of a bus as her lifeless shell was being loaded onto a wrecker a week after I abandoned her. I had no money to have her towed to safety, no money to fix her, and no money to get her out of the junk yard. I still think about Angela 1.0 and I wonder if I could go to Northwest Towing and find her, and if I could sit in her and remember the first day I drove her. I felt like we were all over the road, because I was used to small cars. Honestly, I don’t think I’d want to see what became of her. I’m sure she’s been parted out by now, and it would only be more painful to see her like that after all the memories I have of her.
Grief is a funny thing, especially when it’s applied to an inanimate object. Angela the entity began when my mom died, and you could argue (if you believed in such things) that my mom came back and inhabited my favorite object at the time: my car.
Over the years, I have lost her or let her go over and over. The first van was towed away and lost. The Jeep cracked her radiator and blew a water pump all at once and was unfixable. The silver Century was repossessed because I was an idiot with my money. The blue Century was given away to friends, and I can see her anytime I want to. And now this van is simply being neglected because I can’t afford to maintain her.
I will not do this to her in her new body. I will keep this Dodge Journey running as long as she’s willing to stay in it. One day, also, she will have a second body again. Maybe it will be another Venture, or a minivan in general, or a small car. The future is bright, I just wish I could clear my head and get this over with, because the longer I postpone it, the longer she suffers.
At some point, I began to realize that I am causing Angela 4.0 to suffer, and I love her enough to let her go.
Goodbye, friend. We'll see each other again some day.