Goodbye Red Volvo
Goodbye Red Volvo, I remember the day I first met you. Your previous owner sitting across from me at a table at the Ritz Diner in New Jersey, biting round Oxycontin tablets in half and discarding the remainders in an ashtray. You could still smoke in public in those days. You sat alone on the side of the parking lot next to the neighboring dance studio, all…red, and…red, quite frankly I didn’t notice anything about you that struck me one way or another on that morning. Just that you were red, and I was ambivalent about driving a car that was so…red.
Goodbye, Red Volvo. Our first official night out as owner and car was a celebratory dinner at Joe’s American Bar & Grill in the Short Hills Mall. Actually, now that I think about it maybe I have the order reversed. Maybe I test-drove you to the Short Hills Mall and all the paperwork was hammered out a few days later at the Ritz Diner. I should have spent less time nonchalantly reaching into the ashtray and steal the leftover Oxycontin and more time enjoying the fact that I was getting a new car.
Ironic hat alert. Inside the Red Volvo
Goodbye, Red Volvo. You were one year old and had but 13,000 miles on your name. Your screaming red exterior and sexy black leather interior defined you as sporty and luxurious. To simply call you an upgrade from my 1985 Dodge Daytona that broke down on I-476 outside Philadelphia a week or two earlier would be an insult. CD player, automatic doors, seats and windows, moon roof, Swedish engineering. You had it all, Red Volvo. Okay, maybe you got 1/4 the amount of pussy the Dodge Daytona got, but it was higher-quality pussy. It was 2001 red Volvo pussy, not 1985 Dodge Daytona pussy.
Goodbye, Red Volvo. I remember the day your shiny coat disappeared for good. I was working at Crescent Golf Range during summer vacation. Doug was out of jail, still addicted to drugs, probably HIV positive, and looking for extra cash. Instead of just handing him money to buy drugs, mom suggested he wash my car for $20. Maybe it was the industrial-strength soap he used, or the fact that he might have used a Brillo pad instead of a sponge, but after that day your coat never glistened the same way. It was your a battle scar that would remain with you until your final days. Even after being refinished by a Volvo dealership, even after being professionally cleaned and hand-waxed and machine-waxed a dozen times, you never shone the same way after that day. You looked old and tired even in your adolescent years.
Outside the original Wendy’s hamburger stand in Ohio. Day one of the 2005 road trip.
Goodbye, Red Volvo. I’ll never forget our first cross-country trip. You were five years old, I was 22. The close relationship we formed during our adventure might even be considered illegal in some states we visited. Even when I cursed your name, as you died along Route-14 some ten miles outside of Sturgis, South Dakota, I still loved and appreciated you. You were my trusty steed that summer, you protected me and saw my safe passage from coast-to-coast-to-coast. I’m sorry for babying you and changing your oil so many times during that trip. Surely that must have been discomforting. But we survived, and we witnessed incredible things together.
Goodbye, Red Volvo. You brought me to Chicago in 2006 for my birthday. We drank with Jason Molina and hung out at Electrical Audio. You carried home my new guitar amp from a small town in Indiana. You survived a night in Rogers Park. The memory of the Shell station outside of Louisville, with the graffiti scrawled on the wall propositioning a blowjob to anyone standing at the urinal I was standing at between 8pm and 9pm, when the clock read 7:55pm. I don’t think I stopped looking over my shoulder for the next day in Louisville, or until we were safely back home in Jersey.
Goodbye, Red Volvo. I think the last problem we ever experienced was when your battery died at Riker Hill Art Park. Yet another afternoon of getting high and watching the sunset with friends while you blasted tunes from my iPod endlessly, your power slowly draining until you refused to start. And though I once again cursed your name, it would be the last time. All you needed was a little boost, a little jump, and everything else has been smooth sailing.
Goodbye, Red Volvo. We left new Jersey on April 27th, 2007. Headed out Californee Way. Heard a rumor there was good work out there. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but we made it and we’re still here. Another cross-country adventure for you and I, this time we didn’t have as much time to see the sights. But we relished Cadillac Ranch, and you always love the desert. After two years, we finally found Ozarkland. Can you believe how underwhelming it was? We even saw our old friend at Ben Michael’s Restaurant near Old Town, Albuquerque. We arrived in Los Angeles in May 5th. My entire life packed into your back seat and trunk. Together we started a new life on the west coast.
Goodybe, Red Volvo. For the last three and a half years you have served me as well as an owner could ask of his car. We survived the Mojave without A/C on a lark when it was 117 degrees outside. You saw Vegas for the first time. You were the most amazing guide I could ever have asked for on our countless mystery drives. You’ve led me off-the-beaten path in Joshua Tree more times than I can count without so much as sputtering or complaining about unpaved roads. We helped move Steve up to San Francisco, attended our first Garlic Festival in Gilroy, and navigated and learned our way our new home city over the course of the last 1,388 days.
Goodbye, Red Volvo. To say we’ve shared some good times together would be as huge an understatement as it is an overly sentimental cliche. I wish you could hang around for another ten years to see what I become, but I’m sorry to say that will not happen. I’m sorry you’re worn down. I’m sorry you’ve aged. I’m sorry your ability to serve me has been diminished. I hope your days are not numbered. I hope your future is as bright as it was the day you came into my possession. I hope if you have a new owner he or she treats you as good as or better than I did. And in turn I promise to treat my new car — and all future cars — with the respect and care I extended to you. For all intents and purposes, you were my first car. You will never be forgotten. You will forever be revered. Your legacy has been written in the annals of this blog, and described in great detail to everyone I know. In photographs, videos, and in my typically sensationalized anecdotes, you will be given new life. Memories will sustain you. You will never die.
Goobye, Red Volvo.
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