June 15, 2003 is the day I fell in love. No, not a woman, a car. I had been driving a 1997 Chevy Blazer for about three and a half years, but the transmission was a major issue and I just wanted to be done with it. I was frustrated. My brother came over and he had recently leased a VW Jetta. I asked him if he would drive me up to the dealership where he got his car so I could buy a new car. I looked at a Suzuki Aerio, which seemed nice from outside, but once I got in, I realized that I had no legroom. One thing to note here, I am a big & tall human which means I don't so much test-drive cars as much as I try them on for size.
The next car I looked at was a dark blue Mazda Protege5. The salesman went to get the key and when he came back and went to start it, the battery was dead. Nothing. Kaput. He informed somebody in service and then offered to show me another of the same model in the back. Red. Moonroof. Six disc CD player. Subwoofer in the trunk. I sat in it and fit perfectly (with considerable seat adjustment), started it up and took out for a spin. I was in love. This was the car I wanted. I bought it. However, I was not the first person to drive it after it was in my name. That distinction would go to my dad who insisted on taking the key from me under protest.
This did give me a chance to play with the CD player and figure out how to load it and set the radio stations and all of that stuff. So that was good. The first CD I put in was The Police's Synchronicity. Hit the "Load" button, wait for the display to show "In", slide the disc in and repeat five more times. The CD player stayed loaded, almost constantly, for ten years. But this past Saturday, I ejected the discs and it will remain silent for the first time. No more Pink Floyd, The Police, Faith No More, or Alice in Chans playing through those speakers. The end of the line has come for the red, 2003 Mazda Protege5.
This car has a history with me. I had driven it all over the place for work and for pleasure. It had been to Toledo, OH, Lexington, KY, Muskegon, MI, and even drove across NY state in a blizzard. The car was a trooper and spent even more of the time locked in my garage as I flew to other places and rented cars. It finally had an issue that I did not have the time, nor the desire to spend the money, to fix. I do hope that once it gets fixed up and put on the lot for sale that somebody has a similar reaction to it as I did. And I hope that enjoy this car as much as I did, and I hope that the CD player gets loaded up again.
I now de-christen thee, A-Wing.