I got the news just after noon. It wasn't the clutch, after all. It was the whole transmission, a malady that would cost upwards of $3,000 to fix. Which is roughly six times what the van is worth. I was going to draw the line at about 800 bucks; this isn't even close. The Spacemobile has finally died. The legacy has ended.
It lasted me through my first year and a half in LA, enough time to get settled with jobs, life and new friends (who can now give me rides). It lasted me into 2005, when I had finally compiled something one could consider "savings" - or at least a pittance enough to imagine some notion about what to do about getting new transportation. It lasted until I was out of heavy loads for it to carry - one of its last trips was to carry several hundred pounds of weight equipment back from Sportsmart - the last job I had for it. It even got me to Westwood and most of the way back on its final voyage, carrying a few boxes of SAT supplies - making it within 2 miles of the Volkswagon dealership that would later call its time of death. It was close enough that AAA towed me for free.
When I heard the news, it felt like someone died. I didn't think it would hit me so hard, but as Kolleen aptly put it, "it was a big part of life for a really long time." It was indeed a big part. And now there's a big hole. A great, big, aqua-colored, german-made, 2-ton hole.
It was a behemoth eyesore. It only got 17 miles to the gallon, on a good day. It had a Frankenstein electrical system, 3 hubcaps, 1 functioning arm rest and half a bumper. It broke down every six months like busted clockwork. It was everything a reliable car shouldn't be. I miss it so much.
I just wanted to take it camping one more time - to curtain up its windows in some illegal place and not answer when the law came knocking. I just wanted to cram one more apartments' worth of furniture into its gaping turquoise maw - one more futon, one more queen-sized mattress, one more intact ping-pong table. I just wanted to smuggle three more hiding teenagers into a drive-in movie, or three more fleeing convicts into Mexico. But I can't. So I'll have to write about it instead.
This isn't the last time you'll hear of the mighty Spacemobile. I'm sure there's one more ridiculous story I've forgotten, or one more quirky mockery I'll recall as time goes on. The Spacemobile will live on, in story, in legend, in holy writ. Because, although I may not have a Spacemobile anymore, but everybody has their favorite Spacemobile memory.