"It's not as bad as it looks," people always say. In poor Jetta's case, it was exactly the opposite.
A week ago today I got into an accident in the middle of a busy intersection. Other than a skinned knee and a new skittishness behind the wheel, I escaped unscathed. The same cannot be said of the Jetta. What looked like a relatively minor dent concealed a broken axle and various other ailments that are apparently quite costly to repair. Bottom line - it's totaled.
On Tuesday, I went to the body shop to pick up all of the stuff that had accumulated in my car over the years, and I was sadder than I had expected to be to say goodbye to the old gal. Despite my frequent complaints about tricky German engineering, I really did like my little Jetta. It was the first car that was just mine, a college graduation gift from my very generous parents, and it served me well for eight-plus years.
During my senior year, it delivered my friends and I to Narragansett when we needed to avoid the reality of our impending release into the real world by spending an afternoon at the beach. It ferried me around Burlington for seven months after college as I tried to figure out what to do with my life (too bad it'll never get to see how that turns out!). Then, in a great show of endurance and commitment to adventure, the Jetta took me from Shelburne, Vermont to San Diego, California by way of Tupelo, Mississipi; Juarez, Mexico; and Yuma, Arizona. It received its first major scratch the first time that I pulled into the too-small parking spot at my first apartment. The Jetta served me faithfully in the daily commute to three different places of employment and assisted in eight more moves after that first cross-country jump. Perhaps most significantly, the Jetta tirelessly covered the 130 miles between San Diego and Los Angeles as I was falling in love with my husband. Less romantically, but more practically - it helped me to race said husband to the emergency room when he sliced his thumb open on a can of beans.
It's just a car, but it was a good little car, and I'm sad to see it go. It feels a little bit like the end of an era, but I'm grateful to the Jetta for safely delivering me to this point in my life. On the bright side, the next era is looking a bit greener; we're going hybrid shopping this weekend.