The loss of a love

by Brian Keaney

Happier times with me (center) and my Jeep (right).

I’ve always wanted a dog, but in the past couple days I’ve been giving it serious thought.  I’ve experienced a tremendous personal loss and I could use the comfort that a dog will bring, but I also need something to love now that my Jeep is gone.

My Jeep was totaled last weekend when I came around a corner and into an intersection to find a woman taking a left in my lane.  When I took the plates off of it the other day it was like attending a funeral; I’ve been less heartbroken ending relationships with girls than I was knowing that I was saying goodbye for the last time to my Wrangler.   After all, at 6 years, 6 months, and 2 days, this was the longest relationship I’ve ever had.

Standing in the shop of the mechanic who towed it away for me, I took a moment to walk around and say goodbye and to remember the good times.  It was like my own private memorial service.  I don’t think a priest would say a Mass for it, but maybe I can commission a musician to write a Requiem for a Wrangler.

People are shocked when they hear I am now looking at vehicles other than a Wrangler.  My mother, who was never a fan of its propensity to roll over or the places it could take me that she would rather I not go, said it best when she told me, “That Jeep was you.”   The fact remains that I think the new Jeeps are hideous – the JKs are so big that they look like mini-Hummers.   I’m not opposed to buying a used car, but I’m not sure I want to buy a ten year old automobile, even knowing that a Jeep will run forever.   Besides, any other Jeep just wouldn’t be the same.  They are all great, but none of them are mine.

Then again, this weekend I spent an all too brief period down the Cape.  My sister’s boyfriend remarked that if I bought anything other than a Jeep that I would be “miserable down here in the summer.”  He was absolutely right.  I would be.

I also can’t afford a mid-life crisis car, financially (for the car) or psychologically (for the idea that I might be approaching middle age), but neither can I stomach the thought of driving around in a Camry.  I’m not that exciting, and I need my half hour a day in a distinctive and cool vehicle to feel as young and cool as I still like to believe I am.  The thought of writing a check once a month for a grocery-getter is just too much to handle.

Owning and driving a Jeep was one of the coolest things about me.  People identified me by it and associated it with me.  I identified and associated myself with it.  My mother says it is now time for a “grown up car,” as if I’m graduating from diapers to underroos or taking the training wheels off my bike.  I don’t care what my driver’s license says – I’m not that old and I’m sure as hell not a grown up.  Getting anything other than a Jeep would be a blow to the psyche bigger than anything even the coolest puppy could cure.