This week, our pending emigration became even more real when we finally buckled down and sold The Husband's 2003 Mini Cooper S (pictured left).
He bristles at the idea that it was hard to do yet acknowledges feeling a bit sentimental. He also recognized that even though we decided to do it last summer, it took us almost a year to get it sold.
Like all nostalgia, the sentimentality had more to do with the car's context in our friendship and life together than anything about the vehicle itself. These differing contexts led to our appreciating the car very differently.
First, it was never our "practical" car. Even a two-person household will need more trunk space from time to time than the Mini provided in its vestigial boot. So mine had to the practical car, the station wagon, the sedan. The 'put down the back seats and haul back the balcony plants and 50 lbs of potting soil' car—the workhorse.
Second, it was a BMW, which meant that we risked a mechanical problem costing hundreds of dollars if we even looked at it the wrong way. It had no spare tire - no room to carry one. And the manufacturer insisted this was not a challenge because it used so-called "run-flat" tires that were supposed to let you keep driving slowly on your flat tire without tearing up your rim. All well and good, but run-flats are always the most expensive tires and never go on sale.
Third, naturally, it used only the most expensive gasoline. Nothing less pure than the absolute best for this car, and if that costs us three times as much to fill the Mini than the workhorse car, so be it.
But despite all that, what a blast we had in that car. It made merging onto highways a dream, going from zero to highway speed in something close to the blink of an eye. It handled so tightly that if you as much breathed on the steering wheel, the whole car shimmied. It was muscular and sleek and brought us a degree of pleasure we could not have imagined before he waited the nine long months between the ordering and the driving, so great was the demand for the new cars and so short the supply.
But, frankly, life lately made it easier to sell. The pandemic cut down on the amount we drove it because, after all, where were we going to go? Lack of use helped a battery fail and made "starting up the mini" more of a chore than entertainment, something we had to do more than we wanted to do. The key fobs failed. The glove compartment door latch failed. It needed to go to someone who could appreciate it more than we could.
We parked in garages all the years we owned it, and the car had only 67,788 miles on it when we sold it to a Mini enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He's coming to pick it up tomorrow. The Husband will be at his office, so I will be the one to watch him drive it into what I hope will be better times ahead.