On a Monday, in the dark, wee hours of the morning, the dogs jolted me awake with a barking frenzy. Shortly after they quieted, someone knocked at the door and set them off again. I froze for a minute, scared. I thought someone was breaking in. Then I decided I’d better have a look around. I got out of bed, quickly dressed, and went to the door to see if anyone was there. I looked out the window and saw Sapphire, my blue Toyota—wrecked—and another car. I thought the knock had been the person who hit my car, but it was a police officer. He told me there’d been a hit and run. Bill across the street heard the crash and got up in time to see the SUV that hit my car backing all the way down the street, fleeing the scene in reverse. Bill called the police.
My car was demolished. The SUV hit it head-on at a high speed and smashed the front end and pushed it maybe 50 feet so it was blocking the driveway next door.
It was not a good way to wake up.
The insurance company sent over an appraiser, and a tow truck came the next day and took Sapphire away. I felt, and still feel, just sick about it. It was a wonderful car and would have lasted the rest of my life. It had low mileage on it and from that standpoint, it was still practically new. It didn’t deserve what happened to it.
I tried to console myself. The car was grungy after the wet Portland winter, and I’d been about to make an appointment to have it detailed. It needed gas and was due for DMV renewal. It would be worse if it got wrecked after I forked out all the money for that. And I’m very, very glad I didn’t total the car myself. The last time I totaled a car, I was devastated. This time, it wasn’t my fault, and I was able to buy another Toyota. I told myself it could have been a lot worse.
I had to get all my belongings out of the car and say goodbye. I was sad; that car was my horse and she was a wonderful, loyal steed. Ever since I saw the movie, “Powwow Highway,” with Gary Farmer, my cars have been horses, with names. Gary Farmer’s car/horse was “Protector.” My blue Corolla was “Sapphire.”
It was hard to switch to car-buying mode. I had to think about what I wanted. I do most of my driving around town and need something economical. I now have a Prius. It’s a bluish-gray-green color called “Sea Glass.” I decided online that I wanted that color, and they only had one “Sea Glass,” so I lucked out. Compared to my previous cars, this one is a thoroughbred, a racehorse. I named it “Sea Biscuit.”
My old car was a 2004, and cars have changed. Sea Biscuit is totally digital, a computer on wheels with an unfamiliar OS—like my first Windows or my first Mac, only with driving, seriously pushing the edges of my comfort zone. Lying in bed, I remembered that I decided a long time ago to do things outside my comfort zone as often as I can—and here is my chance! I discovered that when I take my time and pay attention, driving the new car is really no problem. Just different.
Farewell, Sapphire. You were the best car I had, and I’m so very, very sorry.