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Posted on March 11, 2005

Tom Anderson
Arts Editor

This past Wednesday a member of my family reached an important milestone.

No, it wasn’t a birthday, per se, but more of a coming-of-age achievement.

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Sorry if I get a little emotional, but, well, I’m just too stinkin’ proud. I’m happy to announce that my car has passed 100,000 miles.

Okay, okay, maybe I am a little obsessive when it comes to cars, and anyone who knows me really well will probably agree that there is no word in the English language that can accurately convey the severity of my infatuation with automobiles.

But guess what: I don’t freaking care.

It was on July 25, 1986, that this one-owner, Orient Red 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD Turbodiesel sedan joined the Anderson household, supplanting my mom’s rather dilapidated and crash safety challenged 1968 Mustang.

For the next 16 years “the Benz,” as we affectionately yet unimaginatively call it, spent most of its life chugging down the streets of Monrovia, shuttling my younger brother and I to and from school.

In between these miniscule school day trips and other suburban quests, it enjoyed the occasional freeway jaunt, including a couple trips to San Diego and one all the way up to Napa Valley.

But for the most part, the Benz lived a decidedly sheltered existence.

That all changed on Halloween 2002, when we purchased a brand new but significantly-discounted 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDI sedan. (Yes, it’s also a diesel and no, you can’t buy a new one in California anymore. But that’s a rant for another day...)

Originally intended for me, it turned out that it would be cheaper (and I use that term loosely) to insure me to drive the older, air bag and ABS-free Benz, not to mention the fact that all those years of parallel parking that ruby-hued panzer were taking their toll on Mom; the comparatively-miniature VW was and is a much better fit for her.

Once I began my career here at ULV, the Benz started piling on the miles like no tomorrow, which is no surprise, considering the 36 mile round trip the two of us make on most days of the week.

But since it’s a diesel, it has kept filling station visits a bi-monthly occurrence.

My dad and I maintain it meticulously, although we haven’t bothered to wash it during this record-setting rainy season.

Over the years we’ve even managed to customize it, with chrome late-model Mercedes-

Benz wheels, lowering springs for the suspension and a snazzy set of European-specification headlights.

But, like all good things, our relationship will probably come to an end, eventually.

Despite having much fewer miles on the clock than most of its brethren, the passage of time is still reflected in the creaks, groans and rattles that now haunt its once vault-like demeanor.

It’s painful to think about replacing it, not just because it’s in such good condition for its age, but also because it has been an integral member of the family for as long as I can remember and is the holder of countless memories.

Thank you, old friend, and here’s hoping for another 100,000 miles worth of memories.

Tom Anderson, a sophomore journalism major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at tanderson1@ulv.edu.