Sold the car. Just when you think it will never sell, it does. Good car and I’d like to think it went to a good home.

Although it’s fantasy to endow a machine with human qualities, that doesn’t stop us from doing it. Cars have souls, spirits and personalities. Some can be like tumors, threatening to throttle everything in the area, including your bank account.

Not this one. If cars were music, the Lexus sedan would have been jazz. Miles Davis. This was a cool customer that soothed rather than riled.

The car had much to say, but wasn’t the sort that would interrupt a conversation. The Lexus bided its time, speaking only after everybody had said their piece.

I know it’s dumb, not terribly mature and probably not even good for you, but I get attached to things. Cars, houses, bikes, surfboards, wallets and friends. I’m not good at letting go and I’m not sure I’m improving.

The text came in the morning: “Good morning. When and where can I see the car?”

This was after a week of misfires, lukewarm offers and people who couldn’t wait to see the car but in order to see the car, it was necessary to show up.

Thirty minutes later, he was there. He parked his old Corolla under the large liquidambar tree. We can do better than that car with this car.

“My wife doesn’t want to get out,” he said, pointing to the woman in the passenger seat. “It’s too dreary.”

It was foggy and I started to say something about how the fog used to be worse when we were growing up (the buyer grew up here too) but then realized I was babbling. People don’t want to buy a car from a babbler because they might think the babbler is hiding something with his words.

I fell silent. Handed him the keys. The first thing he did was to pop the hood, look at the engine and ask if it had an oil leak because it seemed to be leaking oil on the ground.

There is no good answer to that question. It doesn’t leak much. It was a mere flesh wound rather something deep and troubling.

He asked what kind of oil I used. I didn’t know that either.

I didn’t know a lot. I knew more about fog than I did this car.

“How much will you take?” he asked. “I’d rather not dicker.”

A no-dickerer. That was refreshing. I threw out a number. He nodded, pulled out a wad of hundreds and 15 minutes later I was signing over the pink slip or whatever color the slip from the DMV was.

“Would you mind texting me in six months and letting me know how the car is doing?” I asked.

I was serious. I wanted to know. I wanted to know unless the car blew up and then I’d rather be alone with my fantasies about a car that never saw the end of a tow truck.

“Sure I will,” he said.

We said goodbye.

Old car. Old soul. Old friend.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or 395-7279.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.