Tears blurred my vision as I bade a fond farewell to my old, beloved, mostly reliable 1993 Honda Civic EX 2-door Coupe with moon roof and loads of 5-speed stick shift fun. We had a lot of miles together. 167,673 of them.
I loved that car beyond what’s reasonable for a motor vehicle. It carried itself well, even into old age, keeping its rakish look and turning heads when I remembered to wash it. It roared through acceleration like an Indy contender and swooshed through hairpin curves like Baryshnikov with body-colored exterior mirrors. The interior was plush and shockingly well made, it had cup holders that folded down into a cleverly hidden pocket. We had good times. We had laughs. We traveled well together.
Hondas age well, but things started to run downhill a little after 140,000 miles. Not bad, just little fixes here and there, some more costly than others. I was happy to do it for an old friend, especially one who got 35 mpg on the highway. Then at 142,593 miles, I hit the deer.
I didn’t see it coming out of the brush at dusk on a side road near my house. I was going slow and it was going fast, and as I hit the brakes it hit the hood. A big doe, which I had plenty of time to observe as she hovered hugely over my windshield. She did a remarkable triple barrel roll, legs tucked in, before landing on her feet on the shoulder of the road and running into the woods. I was shaken but unhurt as I got out to look at the car. There was a dimple in the hood and one headlight knocked askew; I hoped the poor deer had fared better than my Honda, but I never saw her again.
At 157,644 miles, we went to the OKC zoo and spent the day sketching Harpy eagles and bison. At 164,446 miles we drove all the way to Edmond for a painting demo at the Edmond Art Guild. From 165,758 to 167,051 it conveyed me to SNOMNH and waited patiently in the lot all day while I painted the elasmosaur. I didn’t have the heart (or the nerve) to drive it any further than that. I kept AAA on my speed dial.
The final year was the most expensive for my old Honda. The rack-and-pinion (whatever that is) had to be replaced ($$), the muffler fell off ($), the main seal leaked oil ($$), the air-conditioner died in a heat wave ($$$). Then last week the clutch went. Just the master cylinder and slave cylinder (just what the hell is going ON under that hood?). I was ready to put it out to pasture right then and there, but the mechanic said everything else looked good and it would be well worth fixing; why, that old Honda had YEARS left on it. He fixed it. Five days later the clutch went out completely ($$$).
Yesterday I sadly, lovingly, cleaned out Old Paint for the last time. And donated it to Habitat for Humanity. I let it go, weeping just a little, and looked ahead to other, newer cars. But there will always be a warm place in my heart for the happy memory of my little Civic EX, the sweetest set of wheels I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving straight into the ground.