If Life is a Highway…

After 13 years and nearly 200,000 miles of togetherness, I parted ways last night with my chili-pepper red Jeep Wrangler. Sure, the seat belts were still gnawed from that day five years ago when my pointer/pit bull mix got bored in the back seat. And yes, I know the air conditioning hasn’t worked for at least three summers now. Even still, I felt a sense of abandonment as I left the Jeep amid the sea of cars on the trade-in lot. The dealer said it would likely end up in Africa, where customers apparently don’t care about rust spots, original clutches, or speedometers that occasionally go on the fritz in the middle of highway traffic.

I’m thrilled with my new Honda CR-V, of course. It’s everything a woman like me—teetering precariously on the edge of turning 40—should have in a vehicle.  Good gas mileage. Great space for groceries. Heated seats for those chilly winter nights.

But boy, did I see my youth disappearing in the rear-view mirror as I drove the Honda off the lot last night. Maybe it was the fact that, while I was cleaning out my old cassette tapes (yes, cassette tapes), the 22-year-old salesman noticed the ones by the Black Crowes and Guns ‘N Roses. He he said he’d like to take them if I didn’t want them anymore, because his dad really liked those bands, too.

I spent this morning figuring out all the knobs and buttons on the Honda’s six-CD changer, as well as the USB port that lets me play my iPod over the souped-up stereo system. Yes, I loaded in my favorites by Bruce Hornsby, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and Roomful of Blues, but just for good measure, I reserved CD position No. 6 for Public Enemy. Track one is “Bring the Noise.”

Then I tuned my iPod to the song “Blue Monday”—not the original by New Order from 1982, but the remix by Orgy from their album “Candyass.” Yes, I know that even it’s 10 years old now, at least, but somehow it felt appropriate to sit in my garage before dawn this morning, comfortable as could be with my new lumbar support, singing along with the lyrics: “How does it feel?”

I must admit, it felt good.

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