“You’re sense of business is excruciating!” My dad fumed.

            “Yeah, and that’s why I’m a fucking yoga teacher, okay?” (Very non-yoga I’ll admit.)  And so went the conversation tonight between my father and me, discussing the selling of my beloved 1993 Volvo 240 wagon. My friend Scott had said he’d like to buy it, but because it’s been branded as ‘salvaged’ it has to undergo some serious examinations at the Ministry of Transportation before it can go back on the road. So, after lengthy discussions back and forth with Scott, he decided I should sell it to the other potential buyer, who would come and meet me, cash in hand, tomorrow morning.

            “Take the 500 bucks Calvert, if it’s been sitting for two years, then there might be something more wrong with it than we thought. Just sell it to him.”

            The internal dilemma I’m battling is the fact that him is a redneck dude from Orillia who wants to smash it up in a demolition derby on Saturday night. In my utopian daydreams, I envisioned Scott buying it from me, passing it along to his kids, and our future conversations ten years down the road, “Man, that car is still kicking Calvert. At this rate, we’ll be passing it down to our grandkids!” Either that, or a dad buying it for his kid to go to university to study music, “Man, this car will be great for Evan to put his drum kit in for gigs.” Alas, that dream is shattered. I’m meeting Redneck tomorrow morning to hand over the keys and sell my soul.

            I know, it’s ridiculous to be saddened by the selling of a car, I mean, after all, it is just stuff. As a pseudo Buddhist, I thought I was getting over the whole attachment to material things. In fact, last week my dad offered me his old Miata, which he’s just replaced with a newer model. I found myself saying, “No thanks, I don’t need it.” So it’s not that I need or want more stuff. I try not to put value on material objects so tonight I asked myself why I was so sorrowful and torn. For me, it’s the memories attached with the Volvo itself that leaving me feeling like I’ve just lost an old, dear friend.

            Dad bought the Volvo for me in 1995, the year I moved back to Ontario to take care of my mum, who was dying with cancer. I had been living in Nelson BC and flew home, so I needed a car in Ontario to supply teach and get around. That car took us to myriad of appointments through nasty weather that year, and treated us like queens. Her heated seats kept our tushes warm on those minus 20-degree cold snaps on our way to hospitals in Toronto. Yes, at times, I believe she was a lifesaver on the 400 North: safe, steady, secure and reliable.

            She had so much room in the back that we could fit almost anything. And we did. After Mum died, my 87 year-old grandmother and I loaded her up with all my belongings, instruments and headed west to BC on a grandmother/daughter road trip. We had the car wired with Serius radio, so we grooved and boogied to Benny Goodman and his orchestra, Duke Ellington and the rest of the gang on the Big Band station. From Toronto Ontario to Nelson BC, that Volvo served us well. I have a load of pictures taken of Nana inside the car waving at various entrances to cities across the country (it was too hard for her to get in and out of the car). I remember taking her for a beautiful drive along the Slocan River on the twisting turning mountain roads. When I asked her what she thought about the scenery she said, “It’s lovely alright, but I’m looking forward to getting off this bloody windy road and out of this car!” That was a road-trip to remember. We rolled up the rim to win at Tim Horton’s in every province. Not once did we ever run into any car troubles. 

           Not only did she glide problem-free to Nelson BC, but also she drove back to Ontario the following year. It was there the following year that I laid her down to rest in the parking lot of the Volvo dealership in Barrie. The car was running great for months, until a slimy corporate jerk took the bumper off in front of a well-established all-girls private school in Toronto. I’d been teaching that day, and he was picking up his kid when he tried to squeeze by me on the busy street in front of the school. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. Here, take my card and I’ll just reimburse you. My kids go here,” he apologized, motioning to his two daughters sitting in the back looking a bit concerned.

            “No problem, it happens. I have a friend who owns a dealership so I can get some used parts for you so it won’t cost you a fortune.” It looks like he had a small fortune in his Lexus SUV and two kids who attended a posh school, but I like to get deals where I can. It’s the Jewish blood.

            Note to self: always go to do an accident report and take a picture. This guy turned out to be a total schmuck who told his insurance guys that I hit him while he was helping his daughter in the car who was on crutches. This guy clearly had a good imagination. As a result, the car became branded as the insurance guys thought it would be too much to fix it so they gave me a lump sum of cash, and the car and went on their way. I was shocked that someone could be that deceitful and lie like that; but that was just my artist/yoga teacher naïveté about business.

            It’s been sitting in the dealership lot now for over two years and I just put it back up for sale last week. One guy said he’d come to see it and never showed. So, I feel that I really ought to sell it tomorrow. It’s just the thought of the car being destroyed on purpose that bothers me. If I sold it for parts, then at least I’d feel like her parts were like organ donor parts being used for something noble: another Volvo’s survival. As it stands now, she’s going to be rammed into other cars in an act of machismo and futile fun. I’ll probably not sleep well tonight, remembering all the good times we had together. I guess my dad was right; I’m not cut out for business. 

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