My 2002 “Red Rock Pearl” Acura has been my faithful companion for the last thirteen years.  She’s racked up an impressive 285,000 miles on Colorado’s streets and highways.  She’s weathered the extremes of winter blizzards, the instability of our roads (potholes! washboard!), and the novice driving skills of my formerly teenage kids.  Through it all she’s given me safe passage with a minimum of maintenance and repairs.

photo - incendient

Back in 2002 when I purchased her new, the salesman claimed she would go 400,000 miles.  More than a decade later I’m inclined to agree.  When I take her in for service and see the newer models, I’m reminded there are still plenty of miles left in her tank.

When you’ve been with a car this long you tend to forgive the little things.  Like, the stereo holds six CD’s but at some point the mechanism jammed and now they’re all stuck inside my dashboard.  Or the GPS system has mapping which is slowly dating itself because it pulls from a DVD instead of a wireless network.  Or the gold accents I added when she was new that have long since fallen off the body.  Hail damage and a run-in with a pasture fence (driver to remain nameless) have left her less than “cosmetically pleasing”.

Recently my wife and I have been talking about getting a new car.  A newer-model Acura or perhaps another make.  Either way, a replacement for the old girl.  And to be honest, I don’t think “she” is happy about it.

Let’s address this “she” thing, shall we?  Somewhere in her early years my kids decided my car was a girl.  They named her “Roxanne”.  Forget the blow to my masculinity; giving inanimate objects names and personalities is just weird.  Cars have no feelings.  They are insentient.  Or are they?

Lately I’ve noticed the little things:

  • At random the gear shift sticks on “P” and you have to jam it with a pen to get it to “D”.
  • The little light in the glove box goes on and off, even when the door is closed.
  • The air conditioner makes a nasty screechy mechanical noise when it comes to life.  It only gives you cold air when it feels like it.
  • Adjusting the stereo volume or tuning radio stations is an adventure.  Whether you use the buttons on the steering wheel or the knob on the dashboard, you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s better to just drive in silence.
  • The rear cargo hatch doesn’t cooperate. When it’s really cold the door freezes shut.  When it’s mildly cold the door doesn’t stay in the “up” position by itself.

None of these inconveniences compromises my safety or demands an immediate fix.  Instead, it’s as if “Roxy” is finding ways to discreetly disagree with the new car discussion.  I guess I can’t blame her – she’s been delivering me safely from Point A to Point B for almost a quarter of my lifetime.

Hold the phone.  Did I actually just consider my car’s point of view?

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to Life In A Word.

5 thoughts on “insentient”

  1. I hope Roxy makes it another year, at least. I donated an old car to charity a few years ago and I have to say, it was hard… there were a lot of memories with that car, soccer games with the kids, Lake Tahoe trips. Like you said, suddenly dents in the car make us smile. My vote is that Roxy hangs in there!


  2. I have a 2004 Honda PIlot that currently has just over 170k miles, and still running strong. I think it would be cool to see how far your Acura goes before breaking down! I have a friend who has a 1994 Acura Legend that has 530k miles on the original engine, trans, and clutch! Acuras last forever.


  3. I just saw your “cars” category and had to look. Years ago I would not have understood this, but I do now. I used to trade cars frequently just because, but I have gone the other direction as I have gotten older and wiser (or not) and now probably keep them longer than is a good idea. I envy your Colorado climate – I presume your area is not haunted by the rust monster that bedevels those of us in the midwest?

    I am glad to have found your blog – I have enjoyed what little of it I have had the chance to sample. In my own I have touched on some automotive subjects but have done a lot more car writing elsewhere. Anyhow, I presume the poor Acura had met its reward by now? I do not feel on familiar enough terms with it to use a name. I will join the 2/3 majority of “keep it” votes, making this a 3-1 count now.


  4. “Roxy” made it another six months after this post, and logged almost 300,000 miles. No particular reason why we traded her in. The new car? Another Acura MDX. I am all about safety and reliability so it only made sense to go with the vehicle you trust most. I have every intention of going another 300,000 with this one.

    BTW when I got the license plates for the new MDX I sensed Roxy reaching out to me one last time. The first three letters were “RBW”, which translated to “Roxy ‘B’ (vs. ‘A’) Wilson”. Still naming my cars… still females…


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