Friday, August 10, 2007

Farewell, My Lovely

This is my most recent car: a 1995 Chevrolet Astro Van.

My love affair with automobiles started before I was old enough to drive one.  As a kid I could name the make of every passing car.

I got my drivers' license on my sixteenth birthday, the very first day I was eligible. 

I used to drive off road, just to get in tough spots and have to dig my way out or ingeniously get myself and my car home.

In WWII I trained to drive Jeeps, two and half ton trucks, half tracks, and even a tank.

I courted in a car.(Well, who didn't?)

I have owned a dozen or so different cars.

Yesterday I took my van out for a drive, the first time I have driven in many, many months.  It was like I had rarely driven before.  It was a delight... but it was scary. My reactions are slower and less sure. I had trouble seeing both the traffic and the instrument panel. I managed to get out and enjoy a rural dirt road for a bit. And I managed to get home.

I keep my van for sentimental reasons.  I wonder how long I can afford to do that.  I may have to say "Farewell" soon to my love.

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hewasolddog299 said...

Chuck, while you never forget how to drive, there IS a certain skill level that can only be maintained through use. My recollection of driving in California was one of the need for heightened awareness, hyper-fast reflexes when on the I-5, or the PCH, and eyes were needed behind my head to drive in San Francisco, Berkley and Oakland. So don't feel too bad about being unable to manage glancing at the instrument cluster after an absence of how many months from behind the wheel - it's natural and would happen to a guy a third again as young as you -- like me. After six weeks with no driving post-CABG, I found just driving in traffic to be very nerve-wracking. In fact, I had my first accident in over twenty years of safe driving shortly after renewing my place behind the wheel. Only a minor tap of the bumper in front of me at a stop light, but still...

Only constant use of your skills, on at least a weekly basis, will allow you to become comfortable behind the whee again. It's like so many other things in life -- use it or lose it. Sorry I'm 3000 miles away or I'd make a point of visiting you to take Sunday drives. Maybe you can round up a grand niece or nephew who'd like to drive out to the airstrip to watch the planes land, or the railroad yards to watch them make up trains, or maybe a trip out to the racetrack to see them fly by at 180 MPH? Any excuse to get out weekly and drive a bit, just to keep your hand in...

ggjack7 said...

My car sits alot also, I drive maybe once or twice a month, but I'm not afraid for myself so much but would sure hate to hurt or kill someone else. gg/Jackie

kateh2ocolorart said...

I don't think I'd want my grand niece or nephew in the passenger seat with you, Dad...sorry.  Nice idea the regular driving bit...but things HAVE sped up here in town and so much more traffic, it is grueling for all of us!  Once you get more practice, maybe grandson or daughter will ride with you.  Love, Kate

madcobug said...

I used to not mind driving for long distances but in the last few years I have just let Ken do most of the driving and now I don't even like to drive in our town. It's a four lane all the way downtown and 6 lanes part of the way and makes me think of a race track. Kinda makes me nervous at times. I just say a prayer for a safe trip there and back and go on. In a few more years they will finish a bypass that has been in construction for several years then if I am still able to drive it will take at least 30 min off the trip to see my children. Helen

amiragabrielle said...

I hope you can keep it for as long as you want it Chuck:)


bamawmn46 said...

You're out of practice! When I've not driven for awhile (couple weeks here and there this summer), it always feels a little strange at first.