Friday, January 28, 2011

Ode to Edna*

In 1993 a car was born and was brought into a family that cared for her.  She was given too much free time and was only driven a few miles a day, mostly to deliver meals to the elderly or to visit U of M's Yost Arena for Hockey practices and games.  At 15 years she hit a rebellious patch and in defiance against those who loved her, she adorned a mostly-permanent Ohio State window decal**.  In this period of independence and depression, she stopped caring for herself.  She rusted a little around her fender and her parts wore thin.  Her name was Edna and in May of 2009 her family gave her away.

In August of 2009 a recent graduate of the great University of Michigan was in need of transportation for her new life away from campus, for job searches, and for trips across the state.  Edna had acquired 92,000 miles and a small crack in her windshield.  Her interior light had been lost and many of her fuses were irreparable.  She was forced to sit in the hot sun with a "For Sale" sign across her hood for weeks on end while the angry man who now owned her turned away family after family.  She openly needed new tires, as she was still wearing her originals from the early 90s.  She secretly needed an alternator, which she disguised as a weak battery charge, as well as a new steering pump, break pads and break lines.  She didn't dare appear indigent because she desperately wanted a new home.

The recent graduate took her on a test drive and she did her very best to impress.  The graduate took her to a secret auto shop just down the street to give her a check-up and to have her deemed a reliable and safe vehicle.  And that very afternoon, the graduate adopted her from her miserable life at the old auto-shop with the angry man.

In the time shortly after her adoption, Edna and the recent graduate formed a symbiotic relationship.  The girl took care of Edna and Edna took the girl across the state and back.  Edna helped her find a new home and a new job.  She taught her valuable lessons in car repair and gendered favor acquisition.  In fact, the day after her adoption her alternator failed and she taught the recent grad that when you get screwed, its okay to cry your way out of it - the two both benefited from a new alternator with installation at no additional cost.

She became a favorite at the secret auto shop and the owner, Steve, boasted about her efficient archaic design, "they just don't make them like that anymore."  After Edna's headlight warning bell burned out, she taught the recent graduate about responsibility and memory aids - and how to jump a battery at 10 o'clock at night on the highest level of a parking structure...or at 11 o'clock at night in the parking lot of an Urgent Care Center in an unfamiliar city...or at Steve's fact, Edna taught the graduate how to purchase and replace a car a blizzard.

Edna was full of practical wisdom.  She taught the graduate about interior car care, door seals, and how to clean moisture mold from upholstery.  She taught her the sound and feel of a failing steering pump and how to change a tire.  In a particularly surprising lesson, she even strengthened the graduate's relationship with her future husband.  The graduate and her fiance never felt as close as they did on the 4th of July 2010 when Edna's muffler broke from her body and remained partially attached...just enough to send patriotically festive sparks flying from her rear anytime she moved.  The couple spent 90 bug infested, dirt filled minutes on the ground under Edna trying to remove her muffler from its welded and industrial rubber banded grip using nothing but a dinner fork, brute force and a little prayer as twilight approached.  When her muffler finally broke free, the sweaty couple cheered and embraced and felt that if that they could accomplish such a task without argument or passive aggression - surely, together, they could accomplish anything.

It is today that Edna celebrates a major milestone.  On this special morning commute, Edna smoothly rolled past her 100,000th mile.  She is happy and healthy.  And with the money the graduate recently saved by switching car insurance - soon she will have a crack-free windshield.  Edna proudly sports a "University of Michigan Alumni" sticker on her American built body.

*Alternately titled, "A Car and her Girl."

**In case you were worried, the graduate was able to cover Edna's OSU decal, shame from her past, with an Apple sticker.  She continues to wear her well earned meals-on-wheels badge.


  1. Incredible personification :) You are a fabulous writer.

  2. Thank you. And thanks for reading.