My best travel companion
Saying goodbye to an old friend can be gut wrenching. However, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. She had been through so much, yet remained by my side the whole time. It may have been the 43rd state, multiple continent shifts or the roughly 2,937,199 stairs she was battered against.
Countless beatings were incurred throughout the entire journey—but not so fast! They weren’t all from me…Frequent punches from hydraulic arms, endless jostling and bumping for hours and constantly moving in and out of cars and houses all contributed to the decaying of her exoskeleton. Or maybe it was that one time I pushed her down a flight of stairs, constructively.
The damage began with her right shoulder…what started as a tiny tear evolved into a full rip, with frayed bits of cloth as proof. Next thing you know, teeth were not lining up correctly and began falling out— almost daily. “Only a few more rides,” I told her, “just a few more.”
Soon our trip ended and, for the time being, she was laid to rest. A year later, after a phone call about a new trip, I knew I needed her more than ever. I opened up the closet and there she was, well-rested, yet still damaged. I looked straight at her— “Let’s ride.” She was game.
For the second time in 3 years we were out on the open road, just me and her, free as birds. We had a deal, she carried my things around for me and I brought her wherever I went. Like nachos and cheese, we were inseparable. Although we both thought this was a new beginning, we had really just picked up where we left off. Soon, time began to take its toll on our relationship. About a month ago I noticed some parts of her just…falling off. She’d roll into town in one form and leave in another, shedding bits and pieces along the way. Who did she think she was? I thought we had an agreement!
Then, the unthinkable happened. Last Friday, her skin sustained a blow it couldn’t recover from. I could still recognize her if I looked at her, but when I pulled the zipper around her, it was like zipping a ghost. “ZIP!” I cried, hugging her tightly, sitting on her just to keep her closed. “ZIIIIIIIIPPP SHUUUTTT!!!” I glanced down at her, none of her teeth were still attached, not even close. In fact, the “gums” holding her teeth in place had been demolished, only floss-like bits of string remained.
Keep yourself together!
This morning, I carefully gripped her in my arms and swathed her in bungee cords for one last ride. On the way from Pismo Beach to Los Angeles we stopped at a mammoth, ritzy department store to pick up a newer, sleeker model.
“This is the one you want,” the saleswoman told me, “Very sturdy, even has a 10-year warranty and for a great price.” I wanted to look at her and say, “Can you put a price on tossing your friend down a flight of stairs? Can you give me a 10-year warranty on companionship? CAN YOU EVEN TELL ME IF THIS THING FITS IN AN OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT?!!?!” However, all that was summed up as, “I’ll take it.”
After a quick transition of items in the parking lot, I held my old pal’s arm one last time and we slowly walked to the Panda Express dumpster across the parking lot. I hoisted her up, never feeling her this light and weak before, and gently (to avoid having chow mein splash in my face) laid her to rest in the dumpster. I’ll never forget you my functional friend.
“Chap” and I have a lot of building to do. I still don’t understand some things about him, like why he has to have 4 wheels instead of the standard 2. He needed coaxing when I put all my belongings in him and didn’t even have an efficient way to handle my dirty clothes! It’s going to be a learning experience for both of us, but I know we can do it. Heck, we’re Hollywood’s newest powercouple!
Who's that new Hollywood couple?!