I Love You, Slo-ZS

You're a bitch. Don't get me wrong –- I mean that in the nicest possible way. It's just that you've cost me so much money — in tickets, in time, in heartache, but still, you're here.

Not to say you couldn't have been gone -– there were plenty of opportunities for that. When that angry lady in the minivan T-boned you at that intersection, I thought you were done for. When that silly girl dented your door when trying to park, you shrugged it off, albeit several hundred dollars later. Same as that one hit-n-run incident. But I almost lost you for sure when my so-called friend smacked your left against a concrete median at 80MPH. Truth be told, you never quite recovered from that; there's always something wrong with your front left wheel.

Your temperature control knob doesn't work anymore, neither does the door to the fuel tank – I have to pry that open. Your paintwork is shot to hell. Your wheels are faded. You creak and rattle something fierce. To top it all off, you're slow as hell. Wait, what's that noise? What's broken now?

But I love you. Yeah, I said it – I do. I know I was afraid to love you for the longest time, for fear you'd be taken from me. But I'm not afraid anymore. It's better to love, even if for a little while.

Every morning I put my key in your ignition, I never have the slightest doubt you'll start. You always do, except that one morning when your battery called it quits. Of course, I take care of you – always warm you up, lubricate you with Mobil 1, give you fresh, sticky tires - that kind of thing, but that doesn't mean sh*t; you can choose not to start. But you always do.

I never abuse you, but you're always running at 85%-plus, so I'm always surprised when I look down at the odometer and see 173,000 miles. You've lasted longer than I ever imagined, but it seems you're getting even better. Don't get me wrong - you're nowhere as fast as I wish you were, but I'm learning that it's much more fun to drive the hell out of an underpowered car than drive slow in a car with tons of power.

Every time I grab that aluminum shift knob I got you all those years ago, you never cease to send ripples of pleasure up my arm. Every time. Your steering is super-communicative – I can almost feel it when one of your wheels goes over a pebble. I've learned how hard you can corner, how quickly you brake, at what rev range you respond the quickest – 3000–5500 RPM. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, after all these years, I think we've learned about each other, and have gotten used to it.

Don't be jealous of that pretty Mazda. True, she's a looker. She's quicker than you in every way, handles better, brakes quicker, all that stuff. She may be better on paper, but I love only you.

Matter of fact, I miss you already. What time do I get off work today? I can't wait to start you up, roll your windows all the way down while you're warming up, click the seatbelt in place. In these temperatures I have to wait for your shifter to cool off – it gets unbearably hot. But that's OK, coz I know all your quirks, all your idiosyncrasies, and I'm perfectly OK with them.

Later on, when we're cruising home, speakers bumping in the trunk, both hands on the wheel, then we'll really pillow-talk.

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