May 18, 2008
Beelzebug's sweet sorrow
Well, Jim's been right about a great many things over the years, remarkably so considering that he suffers from a persistent rash known as Conservative Republicanism (I hear there's a treatment for that now), but he was wrong about Beelzebug.
That's not to say that the car never had problems. Things started going wrong with it just about as soon as the warranty ran out, things like plastic switches and little hipster accents. But the car has never experienced any serious engine problems and has gotten us from the tundra of Kalamazoo to the demilitarized zone of Detroit, then to New England for four years before finally moving me and all my crap to Austin and then finally to Plano.
It's been nine years and 122,000 miles (not easy miles, either), however, and poor Beelzebug has been making ominous sounds for some time. The air conditioning hasn't worked for a while (which makes for a delightful driving experience in Texas), and the engine tends to overheat when the car isn't moving (like in, oh, say, Dallas rush hour traffic). There's a lot of work that would need to go into repairing the car, and putting all that money into a nine year-old plastic, trendy, high-mileage car feels a little like giving a heart transplant to a 100 year-old patient. Every time poor Beelzebug makes one of its scary noises or overheats, you can almost hear it whispering its DNR request.
"No heroic measures," it seems to say. "Please just let me go..."
We've been looking at new cars for a few months now, and we had pretty much decided on half a dozen different cars before changing our minds. We had actually decided to get a Mini Cooper S, the choice originally made by Schuyler and which certainly would have felt like a worthy hipstery successor to Beelzebug. We came as close as filling out the paperwork and toying with the deposit. Seriously, we were close. It would have been yellow. Yellow. You know of my love of yellow.
But in the end, we got an excellent deal on a Mazdaspeed3, which looks like the respectable, four-door Mom & Dad hatchback Mazda3 but has a ridiculously punchy engine and will pretty much go as fast as you ever would want to go. It actually scares me, a lot. And it turns out that it was built in Hiroshima, which tweaked me a little bit, for some reason.
But no matter how much I grow to love this new car (and I have to be honest, I am digging it a lot), it'll never be quite the same as Beelzebug. We brought Schuyler home from the hospital in that car, after all. How do you top that? Goodbye, old friend.