My other other car

I bid a final goodbye to the Silver Star today. That was the 1999 Ford Windstar I bought from my parents in 04, and proceeded to gradually destroy.

Like the old Lightfoot line says, “My good old car, she done broke down, cuz I drove her into the ground…”

That’s exactly what I did to my good old van. Up north, down east, around town, on the road to various festivals and events, and especially, back and forth to Montreal a couple of times a month. Sometimes, a couple of times a weekend. For years. And no stopping to do proper maintenance, of course.

I took a picture at one time of my odometer turning over as the miles slid by beneath my wheels. I figured I was peak oil personified.

Kid in the car-seat, guitars in the back, canoe on the top, bird books in the dash, maps from here to Timbuktu… stacks of CDs and a spare gas can and all the gear a guy could pack in.

Beef jerky wrappers. Pebbles in the ashtray.

I just realized I forgot to take the pebbles out of the ashtray.

Anyway, the Silver Star went the way of all things. The last time I got a new sticker for the license plate was May of 2008. In 2009 it still started but I only drove it around the block or to the hardware store or rehearsal for fear of it breaking down forever.

By 2010 the Silver Star was all done. Burnt out, and ticking off my neighbours because I never moved it anymore. Well, I couldn’t! It wouldn’t even turn over.

When my parking permit renewal came up I realized I couldn’t renew it legally, either… and I gave in.

Today the tow truck came to take the Silver Star away, and with it went the last good gasp of motor mania for me. I love to drive, but I hate to use gas, what with the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico and the grey haze over the city most days.

Anyway, owning a vehicle in downtown Toronto is like wearing an anchor around your neck.

As the tow truck pulled the Silver Star away down my street today, I caught a last brief glimpse of my bumper sticker: “My other car is a bicycle.”

Unfortunately I destroyed my bike before I gave up the van.

Luckily, my other other car is my feet. And I’m walking on.

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