I still have a race report (and giveaway) from this past weekend’s half marathon to write, but I need to write in order to help process what happened on the way home from South Carolina.

Of course phrasing it that way sound all dramatic. About 100 miles from home, my 14-year-old car’s engine blew. Jay safely navigated to the side of the road, where we awaited our AAA affiliated tow.

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Back in 2002, when I first purchased Quinn, my Toyota Matrix, I had never bought a vehicle for myself. When I first started driving, my parents gifted me a decade old Buick. I named him Han – because, like the Millennium Falcon, he either ran great or had mechanical problems at the most inconvenient times.

After 12 years (total, not in my ownership), Han decided it was time for retirement. I drove my parents spare minivan around for a few months while I decided on a car. Toyota 4-Runners have always been a favorite of mine but were well out of my price range.

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I didn’t like the body style of the older Rav4s, and the newer ones were just too pricey. Enter Quinn, my Toyota Corolla-sized hatchback. Instead of a boring sedan, I thought he looked a bit more sporty.

He is silver, and so I named him after the Harrison Ford character in Six Days, Seven Nights, a movie about a romance between a couple with an age difference of 20 years. The age difference matched me and the car, and his color matches Ford’s hair color.

He served me well for 14 years and 225,000 miles. I honestly expected him to last a few more. When the mechanic gave me the diagnosis, I had to hold back tears. I wish I were just being dramatic. I love that car.

For a brief moment, I considered getting him repaired. His body is in great shape and who knows what kind of life the rest of the car has left. I just can’t pull the trigger on a repair that will cost more than the car is worth.

Before today, I hadn’t been car shopping since I was 22 years old. I’ve experienced a lot of life in that car. He’s been on too many road trips to count. Heck – it’s the longest relationship I’ve had with a man, my husband included!

This past week, I’ve felt the pressure of making the right choice on what to buy next. I plan on driving him, whatever he may be, for the next decade or more. In other words, I’ll have to live with this choice for some time.

At this point, the only thing I know for sure is that like those who’ve gone before him, I will choose a Harrison Ford character name for him to bear proudly.

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