Retiring the Grand-Ammit

For nearly ten years, my car has carried me to and from college, to and from new jobs, new cities, back and forth between Savannah and Gainesville to see Lee, and lots of places in between. It has occasionally required repair, but has continued to carry me places despite the fact that I rarely changed it’s oil during college. It has been in a couple of fender-benders, lost two hubcaps, but survived quite well.
I had planned to hang on to my 1994 Pontiac Grand Am (lovingly referred to as the Grand-ammit, pronounced gran-dammit) until next summer. However, Lee was with me in the car on a recent lunch break, and noticed something… fumes coming from my AC. Since then, it has gotten even worse, and we’re concerned it’s toxic. Meanwhile, the “service engine soon” light keeps coming on, and sometimes my brakes take a second to really catch. It’s time for a new car.
We’ve been car shopping, and thought we’d settled on my next vehicle. Saturday, we cleaned out the old grand-ammit, and it was kind of like going through a time capsule. In the console, there were mix tapes Lee made for me while I was still in high-school. In the glove compartment, there were directions from Fitzgerald to Athens, from when I visited him in college. On the mirror of the passenger’s sun visor there were the window-cling monkeys Lee and I stole off a Chick-Fil-A window. There are stickers from the Equestrian Team, UGA, and my sorority on the back. There are commuter stickers on the front from parking on campus.
But there were other things that made it easier to think about parting with the car. There is the primer showing through under worn paint. There is the busted foglight. There is the cloth hanging down from my roof. There are the threads showing on the cloth of my seats. When I stepped back and took a good look – the car looked very old and worn. Loved, but worn.
We went through all the title paperwork in the glove compartment to make sure there wasn’t anything too personal on it. That’s when I noticed the original sale papers. When my parents bought me the car in Macon, it was a year old. The original buyer bought it here in Savannah, at the dealership that is about a mile from my house. I pass it nearly every day. It seemed fitting somehow that the car had come full-circle.
So I was nostalgic as I drove it to the dealership. However, I was also worried about showing my car to the manager. I feared the he might notice the smell of fumes in the car, or that while he was inspecting it, Ricky the Roach might make an appearance. When we began negotiating, the manager said he’d look up the value of my car. When he returend, he said he checked about 5 different sites, and one told him my car was worth $0. I mean, I have two new tires! Isn’t that worth something?
In the end, we couldn’t come to an agreement on the price of the car I wanted, so we walked out. It was a little depressing to get back into the Grand-ammit and drive it home, but that’s okay. We’re still looking, and I think we’ll get a new car soon. And even though I know my car may be poisoning me, it will be a little sad to see it go.