When we bought Bruce, my opinion was that I would consider his run a success if he lasted ten years. He was the next-to-last 1996 model on the lot, bought new near the end of that year, and so has passed with flying colors. He's carried laurie_robey and I loyally all over the east coast; made countless commutes to work, to gaming, to the counselor's office, or to Kung Fu; heroically took it on the nose to protect laurie_robey in what was a rather nasty collision but could easily have been worse; and now he dutifully fills the role of "back up car" on occasions such as today, when The Platinum Pearl (laurie_robey's Camry) is in for service.
But there's no mistaking it, Bruce is getting old. The rear window wiper hasn't sprayed wiper fluid for years; he's sluggish to the point of cutting out in weather below 40°; his "power locks" now no longer actually unlock the doors; his upholstry sags and his window seals no longer keep out the rain.
Having reached the 10-year mark, Bruce has accomplished his mission. And sometime, not now, probably not in the immediate future, but sometime, it will be time to think about a new car. I know it will be a SUV; I've been watching the hybrid Escape as a possibility, but I'm nowhere near a decision point. But whenever the fateful moment comes, it will be bittersweet at best. Bruce is the first car I ever thought of, really, as "my car". I drove a much-disliked, invisible-colored Aries K car around for several years, but it was a disastrous hunkajunk purchased by my parents and over my objections. When it suddenly just "gave up" one day at the intersection of Germantown Road and 123, I cried no tears. But Bruce is different. Bruce is my boy, and he's a trooper. Yeah, he drinks 97-octane gas like it was water. Yeah, his seatbelts have always been wonky and his doors have always done their best to bite my leg off. But every loved one has habits that irritate you; no doubt Bruce objects to my tendency to drum on his steering wheel in time to the radio and to occasionally take pavement seams too fast.
I don't want to replace Bruce. Not yet. He's still got a bit of life in him.
PS: On a happier note, I now have a 2.5" black-and-gold Dalek sitting on my desk, randomly saying things like "AD~VANCE~AND~DE~STROY!" or "YOU~CAN~NOT~ES~CAPE~THE~POW~ER~OF~THE~D