Two Goodbyes in Two Weeks (Bye-Bye Red)

Last Wednesday we drove to Colorado Springs to have a life time friend do our taxes. South of Castle Rock, a red warning light came up on my dash— YOUR TRANSMISSION IS OVERHEATING SLOW DOWN. This is sort of like getting an almost flat tire while driving to Dental 911. We feathered the car in to The Springs, the light went off and we got our taxes done. Now to deal with a sick car. Red was a 2014 Outlander Sport with 161,455 miles on it. This car has been a supporting actor in this blog. Nearly 9,000 different people have ridden in it, oftentimes commenting “What a nice car”.
I have had three cars in my life that I truly bonded with; a Gold 1963 Chevy Impala Super Sport convertible, a 2001 Montero SUV, and this simple 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport named ‘Red’. It’s a silly thing to bond with a car, but I spent some of the most interesting, joyful and sometimes painful moments driving Lyft riders or commuting to Greeley. Red was not fancy just reliable, easy and cheap. Until Wednesday.
I got the call from the mechanic Thursday afternoon, “We thought it was an easy fix, sorry you need a new transmission”. “How much are we talking (thinking three to four $thousand). “Well, we tried to find a used one, the new one will be right at $10,000”. Mic drop… “Well, it’s time to get a new car”. “Yep, probably. Sorry”. “Oh, I am not going to blame the messenger. I can’t get it until Saturday”. “No problem, we will see you then”.
Today I said my goodbye to Red. It’s just a thing, a car, but not!!! It could drive through blizzards better than any car I ever had. About four years ago we had a huge March blizzard. I remember picking up passengers that said “Everyone else cancelled on me”. I went past two big 4-wheel drive trucks who couldn’t negotiate a hill. I patted Red on the dashboard.
2020 has been full of good byes: no trips with my boys, no gatherings at church, no baseball, no Lyftingmeup Lyft rides, no golf, no having coffee with friends, no in-person 12-step meetings, no Balkan cruise.
Okay, today I picked up the nicest car I have ever owned. I told myself before this happened that when the day came to say “Bye Red” I was

going to get a “once in a lifetime car”. It’s beautiful, comfy, and it comes with training sessions to teach me all about the ‘bells and whistles’. Ok, it’s a BMW X3. Right now, it doesn’t have a name, it’s too smart for its own good, and not exactly a preacher mobile.
I can hear Red say “Okay Mr BMer you will never give a Lyft ride to a 40 year old going to her third round of chemo.
Onward and Upward, Mark

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