Cars Come and Go, But the Best Leave an Impression.

A rainy day on which to say goodbye.

Tonight Barb and I will sign the papers, write the check, and trade in my black stallion for its replacement.  It will all happen at a dealer out in Naperville, a suburb as foreign to a Northsider like me as wins are to the current Bulls team. It took weeks of combing car dealer websites, days of studying comparison charts, and hours of test drives before I found the low-mileage, gently pre-driven car I was looking for. A new companion to make my daily commute down the Tri-State Tollway speed by--at a speed acceptable to me and allowable by the state highway patrol.

It is not easy to give up the old black beauty. She started as another man's mistress, the back up to his primary ride. And since she was his mistress he loaded her up. Every amenity available for a 2011 luxury car -- infrared night vision, rear seat DVD screens, a lovely coffee-colored leather interior, driver assist speed control--nothing was too good for her. And under it all, the lovely eight-cylinder engine that purred.

But he was an embezzler and they both paid the price. He went from Wall Street to a prison, she went from a suburban New York villa to an impound lot. She traveled west after her dealer auction and ended up in my hands. And we melded.

For four years we have zipped along. The night vision and the DVD screens have languished, but I have loved the brown leather. The powerful engine synching up with the speed control has been a perfect match for my driving style, purring until I would roar into the left lane. And although the car always felt a little stiff and uncomfortable to Barb, I have loved every minute of driving her.

But now she is a little gray. She is showing her age, showing all those miles I have pushed her through. Things that used to work don't work anymore, and like any aging heiress, she is getting too expensive to keep beautiful, and much too expensive to maintain.

The new car doesn't have as many features or as interesting a backstory. But it has enough oomph and glamor to satisfy my desires, and a long, long warranty to satisfy my practical side.

So I will Waze my way back to Naperville tonight as the Bulls battle the Cavaliers. I may not be trading for Lebron James, but I still think I am trading for a winner!

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