O.V.A.D. Obsessive Vehicle Attachment Disorder. I have this condition. I have it badly. While some people revel in the thrill of trading in their cars every few years for something more modern, with less miles, and less repair headaches, I have owned the same vehicle for the past eleven years, and it was used when I bought it. You may think I am just being frugal or practical. No, that’s not it. I have poured thousands of frivolous dollars into my 2000 Chevy ZR2 Blazer just because I love her obsessively.
Maybe it’s because I paid hard earned cash for her when I was first striking out on my own after finally getting up the nerve to abandon a terrible relationship. Maybe it represented my independence in ways besides the ability to go where I wanted or the financial freedom of having no car payment. I already had a car that was paid for when I bought Flower (Yes, that is her name). I think she may have represented independence because I had just found my independence and was making a fresh start. I was flowering, and as I did, I projected those feelings on to my car by covering her in bumper stickers of which no one in my previous world would have approved. I decorated her with daisy embroidered seat covers, put a fabulous stereo in her, and bought her thousand dollar tires. I drove her like I was shouting to the world who I really am for the first time. I mean she really is a rolling billboard of my values, my hobbies, and my political views. I was discovering who I really am and announcing it to whomever would slow down long enough to read my opinions.
Needless to say, my sixteen-year old car needs a lot of love and attention these days. Love is no problem, but the attention she needs costs money and time in the local autoshop, and even though I love her, the realization that no matter how much money I spend, she isn’t going to last forever has finally settled on me. And although Flower drives as good off-road as she does on, makes it through any blizzard conditions safely, and is as fun to drive as she ever was, I made the decision to buy a new vehicle after the last $1100 repair bill.
I sulked for a few days after bringing my new car home. Everyone kept asking me if I was excited for my new purchase—a 2015 Nissan Juke, but they didn’t understand that I was grieving for my old one even though I still have it. I suppose I’ll have to sell it soon. Forcing myself to accept my new ride, I bought some new daisy seat covers, some controversial bumper stickers, and am planning on checking out car stereos in the near future. Suddenly, my little Juke started growing on me. Maybe she will represent a new era in my life. I’m not sure what this era will be—we never know that for any era until it’s over. But I think she has the potential to be my next car obsession.
Flower wasn’t the first vehicle I was too attached to. When I was twenty, I bought a 1978 AMC Concord for $800, named him Watson, and drove blissfully for six years before sadly giving him up for a newer car. But I haven’t been attached to every car I’ve owned. I’ve heard it said that some cars have souls and some are just machines. I think we just love the ones that we can easily project ourselves onto—the best sides of who we are, of course—who we want to see ourselves as. That’s why we have trouble letting them go. And if they’ve been good and loyal to us, it’s even harder. I think I may be moving into the acceptance stage of grief, but I still have my days when I want to say never mind, I’ll pay the repair bills; take the new car back. But then I think I would already miss Daisy. Yes, my little Juke already has a name. I think it may be too late. I admit it. I have O.V.A.D. and there’s no treatment.—Christina Knowles