One day you are putting on your favorite sweater, and you notice that it doesn't hang right. The hem is all uneven, and each time you pull it into the right place the stripe across the chest becomes a little more v-shaped. And the sleeves aren't quite long enough nor tight enough.
Maybe you wear it to work anyway, because after all it's one of your favorite sweaters. And the stripes around the elbows have always looked cool, and the colors... well the colors used to be crisper. But they are a good color combination, which makes up -- okay it almost makes up for the fact that it's fitting rather oddly.
Each time you spot your reflection in the mirror it gives you pause. Could a favorite sweater really be so unflattering? You tug at it, trying to force it back into its once-attractive look. It resists. You frown at it.
This is beginning to sound a bit less than hypothetical, I suppose. This evening I retired one of my favorite sweaters. I took it off and tossed it in the trash. It was time. No, it was past time. It's just been through too many washes, too many wears, too many journeys, and it simply doesn't look good anymore. It used to! It's a shame, because I've been fond of it for a long time.
Oh well... good bye little sweater. Thanks for all the good times.
Sometimes change doesn't creep up on you; it hits you hard enough to force you to take notice. Even when you are completely occupied with other matters. Let's use another less-than-hypothetical example: a car accident. You are calmly driving through life, and you have a reliable vehicle which is completely paid off. Until, one day -- it simply isn't yours anymore. Smashed up beyond repair, your insurance adjuster explains that "We'd have to cut your car in half in order to fix it, and that's just not good for cars," so she gives you a check instead.
Not, of course, a new car. Not even a new-car-sized check. Just a piece of paper, some apologies, and some sincere well-wishes.
Unfortunately cars are not like sweaters. They aren't quite as disposable -- I don't have plenty of others floating around, and in Detroit I can't simply do without. So I've embarked on a new-to-me-car hunt. Actually I'm not even sure yet if I'd like a new car or a used one. There are advantages to both, and I guess it really comes down to how much money I want to spend.
The important thing that I'm remembering here is: at least I'm okay. Dealing with buying a car is a whole lot easier than dealing with hospitalization or other such awfulness. Sure it's inconvenient and stressful, but things could have been much much worse. I was fond of that car, but it took the fall for me. For that I'm grateful.
Oh well... good bye little car. Thanks for all the good times.