I cleaned out the inside of my '93 VW Eurovan this weekend.
It was long overdue.
There was dirt, sand, and raisin boxes all over the floor.
But I didn't just clean the floor. I got out the armor-all wipes and wiped down the dash, and any surface that looked the slightest bit dirty. I used over 15 wipes. I cleaned the glove box, taking out every last item and evaluating whether or not the glove box was the best home for it. Then I put back only what belonged.
Then I changed the air freshener.
Now the van looks and smells wonderful.
Well, at least on the inside.
Makiah calls it "the dirty van."
I don't know how that started. I'd love for it to stop.
As I was cleaning out the van, I found the original transfer papers from the purchase.
And that's when I realized that in a few days I'll be celebrating* nine years of Eurovan ownership.
Nine years...that's incredible.
Well, it's been nine incredible years anyways.
I began to think about all the wonderful memories I have from the past nine years, and the van is featured in most of them. The best example being that I proposed to Sheena in the van. Now I'm really wondering if those memories would be so sweet if it weren't for my good friend Eileen.**
What is more, Sheena and I will probably be saying our last goodbyes to our transportation friend within the next year. Her life is nearing it's end. At least she is becoming too aged to meet all of our transportation needs.
I wish there were some farm, perhaps with sheep, where she could live out the rest of her days frolicking in fields with other Eurovans. Oh how the Eileen loves to go off road. To my knowledge no such farm exists, leaving us uncertain of her future.
I feel that to celebrate the old girl in a manner that is truly fitting, I should share with you some of the stories that play out so vividly in my memory.
Those will come in time.
All I say for now is that I still remember sitting in the Toyota Tercel outside a closed tire shop, my dad in the seat next to me, we had just test driven the van and I had to make a decision: to buy or not to buy.
I had been working for Canada Post for a year and a half. In that time I had saved up enough money, but this would wipe out my savings. Did I want to take the plunge? It was the most incredible vehicle I had ever been in. And I hadn't even driven it yet because I didn't know how.
The Eurovan is a six speed manual, with a hidden reverse. I didn't want to grind the crap out of it and then say: "No thanks. I'll keep looking."
After ten long minutes in that parking lot I had made a decision. We went back to the guy's house. He was very surprised to see us again. I don't think he expected to be selling his van that day. But he did.
We signed a bunch of papers and that was it: I had purchased the Eurovan.
My dad drove it the two hours home while I drove the Tercel. The Tercel had been my primary form of transportation since the summer of '99. It had taken me far, and had left me stranded far too. The Tercel and I never boned. I had memories but they were nothing special--unless you count the time my friend Brad and I had to push it across Crossfield, Alberta.
During the drive my dad and I chatted back and fort on walkie-talkies. I remember that we were each eating an apple while driving up the Malahat. When I got down to the core I had to manually roll the passenger window down before throwing it out. This was awkward, uncomfortable, and very dangerous given the speeds we were traveling. I was not going to miss that.
My dad delighted in showing off how one finger rolled down the passenger window of the vehicle he was driving. Oh how I was moving up in the world.
My standard education would begin latter that day. It was a rough first week. I'll tell you more about that next time.
*I say celebrating, but this will be the first time I've ever marked the occasion. The past 8 anniversaries have come and gone without any sort of fan fare.
**Eileen is, of course, the name of the Eurovan. Our relationship had progressed several years before a truly fitting name was found. Perhaps one day I'll tell you how that came to be.