Thursday, October 04, 2007

Goodbye, Old Friend

posted by John Blanco @ 8:05 PM


At 7:45 AM, this morning, I officially became no longer Chester's daddy. :-( I sold my car.

It was almost 10 years ago, during my last year at Colorado State University, that I bought him. I'd been working at my first career job (a UNIX System Administrator) for over a year and my poor fingers and toes had had enough of freezing during the cold winter bike rides to work. On top of that, I would soon be moving out, leaving college, and needing a car to get around in the wild jungle of downtown Denver.

I trekked out on my own looking to buy my first car. (Well, my *real* first car bought from my sister by my mom when I was living in New York and had since been sold since I was no longer there.) I walked along College Ave., looking for something I liked. I knew what I wanted. I'd seen it on TV. But I *owed* it to myself to at least LOOK at other cars.

I think I started at a Honda dealership, but left the salesman when I didn't see anything I liked. And then I went...there.

The Volkswagen Dealership.

It had been in the previous two months that I'd seen the commercial on TV. The VW Golf. I loved that commercial. And I loved that car. It was to be mine.

The same car. The same color. The same model. Here it is, preserved by YouTube after all these years. The very car I bought:

I walked to the dealership and talked to the salesman, David Meredith. He took me on a test drive. I'll never forget it. He drives me out of the busy area to a nearby neighborhood, and then lets me give the car a spin. There was only one problem:

The model was a stick shift. (DOH!)

No bother, "I'll teach you, it's easy," he said. So here I am. 21 years old. Test driving to find my first car. And the salesman is teaching me stick shift. :-) Needless to say, I didn't do all too well. But, not bad. I liked the drive anyway, and we got back to the dealership to buy my car!

VW had a great deal going regarding financing. If you were a college student who was graduating within a year, you could lease the car with no co-signer. This was GREAT as it would surely get me a credit score. And it did. Never once have I had to co-sign on anything. All thanks to Volkswagen getting me started.

I find it strangely ironic that I never did graduate within that year. It took me til 2006. ;-)

Anyway, I had to wait a few days for the right car to arrive at the dealership. Red with black interior. I entertained the thought of buying the "Da Da Da" CD, but never did. Good thing, the car didn't have a CD player. ;-)

I'll never forget that first drive home. I was neurotic. I was simply terrified to get in an accident on THE FIRST DRIVE. A brand new car should never be ruined by that kind of trauma. SURELY it's happened to someone. But not to me.

The early rides were electric. I constantly turned back to see my new car. It was like gold to me. Brand-spankin new and this blazing red. I was so happy and proud. The first drives accentuated the utility...MY GOD how it was so much easier to buy groceries and put them in the trunk rather than my bike's handlebars. ;-) I could buy things I never could before because of the weight. I could DRIVE to work. It was so awesome!

Soon after, I moved to downtown Denver and enjoyed 5 different jobs while driving my Golf. Ironically, two of those jobs I didn't drive it to. (My first job I walked to work, my current job I am transiting.) With the most recent job, in downtown Denver, it was time to part ways. 10 years together, but having a new Honda and having no need to use the VW for my work commute made the decision simple. That and the 100K+ miles I put on it.

Goodbye, old friend.

Over the years, I've named my car Chester. I named him that because several reviews of the Golf I'd read before buying it referred to it's body as "chunky." Most recently, Michele and I drove Chester everywhere we went. When we got the Honda (whom we dub Yoshi because we had to wait a month while it was built and delivered from Japan), we didn't drive Chester anymore. And when I left Fiserv, I wasn't driving him to work.

Time ran out on my friend.

So, this morning he was sold to a man named Emilio. Things are looking up for Chester, though. He'll have a family of four to carry around. Next week, he's also going to visit Mexico, where he was made! :-) I hope Chester enjoys the good times.

There will be no more stickers to show off. Chester, you have fun out there. Go give em another 100K of miles...and your love.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god, John, That was so funny (your article on VW). You should be a column writer in your spare time, seriously. - Pammy

8:27 AM  

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