I’ve heard it said that “you are what you drive.” If that’s true then I must be an impenetrable tank, a survivor, a machine built by the best standards and capable of surviving anything. I’m a 1992 Honda Accord.
In 1992 my parents traded in our family van. I remember watching my dad pull the new car into the garage at our house in Southern California. It was white and shiny, 4 doors and roomy with a tape player and ice cold air conditioning. There was no dents, or scratches. It came equipped with a car alarm that would warn passers by “You are too close to the vehicle.” We went for a drive around the neighborhood. I was 11 years old then, I’m 27 now, and that car is still mine.
I bought the car from my mom in 1998 when I was 17 after we had moved to Phoenix. I paid her $2000. My Honda drove me to school, to swim practice, to the movies, on dates, to work, on road trips, and to proms. When I needed time to myself, I would drive around back roads in the desert. I even spent the night in my Honda a few times when I was far away from home. After high school I moved to Russia. I left my Honda with my mom and told her to take good care of it. After all, I would be back and was expecting my car to be there. After two summers and two winters in Russia, I came back to Arizona in 2003. My Honda was in the driveway, waiting for me. Getting behind the wheel and turning the key for the first time in years was like meeting with an old friend. The engine rumbled to say hello, the familiar smell of upholstery and carpet and the dashboard had not changed.
Tragically, a year later, my Honda was stolen from my apartment complex. It felt like I lost a friend. I filed the police report and did my best to ignore people who told me that I would never see my Honda again. They said it was at a chop shop in Mexico. I didn’t want to believe them, but thought they were probably correct. But one morning, 3 weeks later, I got a call from the police department: my car had been found on the side of the road in the next town over! I picked it up that day.
I still get over 400 miles to a tank. Over the past 17 years I have had some repairs, but nothing that broke the bank: some new belts, new radiator, new brakes, new fans, new hoses, new gaskets, new battery. But what car doesn’t need repairs? I tinted the windows and the hood is black now. It still runs as good as it ever has. It has survived the Arizona summer heat, the Rocky Mountain cold, the humidity of costal California. 323,000 miles later, it’s still my car and a part of my life. I don’t know how many miles my Honda has left, but I’ll drive every last one until it is time to say goodbye.