On Loving Old Things

Lorenzo leans back in his chair clucking and shaking his head. “It’s too expensive, mija, two-hundred-fifty on labor alone.” He shows me metallic cylinders on his computer screen, parts that evidently need replacing, and clacks on the calculator with a potato-wedged finger. “Four hundred…9.25%…you’re looking at like eight hundred dollars.”

“It’s still cheaper than buying a new car,” I respond flatly, defending my car as if it were born from my very womb. I’ve been here for two hours watching my Subaru rise up and down from the waiting room window, running outside to let them know when the phone rings. Lorenzo’s family and my family are somehow entwined. I think my cousin’s paternal grandmother dated his brother. Not a close enough connection to get a real discount. He’s trying to convince me to offload my 2002 Subaru Outback because it’s leaking fluids, namely coolant and oil.

Sporting rust on the wheel bearings and a few love-dents, my Subaru’s gotten me across the country thrice. I’ve had it a little over a year but never have I felt so grateful to have something so completely mine, and so completely me. It’s the thing I said I was thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner. 

Now sitting at Glenn’s Auto Center on a drizzly day, I think I have always loved old things. And not just elegant old things like vintage teapots and whistling crystal and ornate embroidery—gross old things. Weathered tin cans that smell of tobacco, mothball grandpa sweaters, metal filing cabinets and tacky mustard-colored furniture. They’ve got more character than all the white coffee tables and grey couches in every apartment and office space nowadays. 

“Out with the old, in with the new,” what kind of mentality is that? Let there be room for nostalgia, for comebacks, for those who pride themselves on liking the old version better. My car might crank and sputter and squeal, but so does my grandma and she’s arguably worth keeping around.