Wednesday, April 04, 2007

099999

It was such a momentous occasion I felt like I had to pull over and toast mysellf to the full moon rising against the Olathe skyline and laugh at my own absurdity.

I had been anticipating this night for weeks. I knew that I would hit this day eventually, I just did not know when or where.

Well, Weeklies, I hit 100,000 mile-mark in my Honda at exaclty the corner of West Dennis Avenue and Lone Elm road deep in the heart of Olathe, the town that I cover.

I pulled into the gas station as soon as the odometer hit the big 1-five-0s. I was excited, my car was now officialy a used car. It has lived out the life of both its own warrenty and the average life of cars that run thourgh this foul country.

100,000 - for some reason - is the major mile stone (no pun intended) that proves your car made it. It is now somebody - or something. But the victory of making this occasion as I was covering the city's mayoraal election was not about jsut that night.

In a bizarre fit, the entire history of my car came rushing back to me...everything I have ever done in this car.

Driving it off the lot in Lee's Summit and being applauded by the lack-luster group of sales people. Driving it at breakneck speed to school everyday. Peeling out late at night in parking lot of Target after closing for another straight school night.

Driving 30 minutes just to take out my first girlfriend. Packing debate boxes and homewokr into every nook and cranny.

The exploding can of Dr. Pepper that I left in my car one summer afternoon. Still, today whne it gets hot enough, you can smell the syrum still in the fibers of the seats.

Breaking off the rear-view mirror as I backed out of my garage. Standing on the hood to get a better view of the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Cod. Gripping the wheel as my attorney and I eased our way though the driving snow in Colorado as we returned from Vegas.

The stereo has endured Blink 182, Green Day, Blind Melon, No Doubt, Weird Al, Something Corporate, Cake, Reel Big Fish, Blues Travler, Sister Hazel, Barenaked Ladies, The Jayhawks, Modest Mouse, Flee the Scene, Be/Non, Silversun Pickups, Arcade Fire, Decemberists, Explosions in the Sky, Cold War Kids, Birght Eyes, Rilo Kiley, The Faint, and an ungodly amount of other artists that - for better or worse - were part of my in-car music collection.

We have been though hook ups, break ups, move-ins, move-outs, car crashes, near misses and the numerous parking tickets and speeding violations that we have had together.

Whether they were short jaunts or long, winding drives though missouri's hill country or, more recnelty, those drives in the the Kansas Praire where getting lost is not really possible when you can see the horizon in all directions.

Kansas City, St. Louis, Hyanis, Boston, Syracuse, Chicago, Wichita, Dallas, Des Moines, Springfield, Ashland, Columbia, Omaha, West Rifle, Denver, Las Vegas, Pheonix, Oklahoma City, Olathe and so many more.

There are few things that have remained in my life for eight straight years. People have come, gone, moved away and moved on. But my car - as materalistic as it sounds - has always been there.

My uncle used to drive a 1980 Datsun until at the great age of 16 if caught fire and refused to toe the line any longer. The air had gone out, the analog clock had long died and the radio was merely there for looks. Like a dying relative things started to fail one at a time.

The real issue now, though, is what we do for the next 100,000 miles. How do we live knowing that the next big miles stone could either be the 2- five-0 or its own death or sale.

Well, kiddos, I can tell you one things. There are big things on the horizon. In Kansas it may appear to go on for miles and miles, but eventually you come to the end of the road and have to make a decision.

I have a few in front of me today that cannot be avoided any longer.

Who knows? next week, we might be talking about what to do until 200,000 or we might be talking something completely different.

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