“2006 Subaru Impreza to Drive or Burn as Firewood”
Dear Craig, it’s me again…
Now and again, one reads a text that bears the entirety of its author’s soul: Anne Frank’s diary, Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking, Thoreau’s Walden. Great pieces of literature, holding down the “feelings” end of the canon. This is a little different. Today’s utterly-personal, spiritually-comprehensive read comes from Craigslist, where an unknown man wrote a post titled, “2006 Subaru Impreza Wagon: To drive or burn as firewood.” I have never met this man. I don’t even know his name. But his essence? That I have drunk like a booze-deprived, calorie-deficient housewife sets upon her afternoon Margarita.
He starts with a stellar, grabby title. It’s informative, too—the listed car’s year, make and model are present—and minces no words in describing the listed object’s condition: Deplorable. So bad, in fact, that the author suggests his car be burned for fuel.
Now, the number of utterly busted ‘06 Imprezas on Craigslist counts in the high hundreds. (To paraphrase an oft-used line, if you’re going buy a decade-old, performance-oriented, economy car third-hand, don’t.) While we’re sure this particular car, named “Thumper,” harbors the usual population of mechanical and electrical gremlins, this ad shines because of the depth and poetry with which the author outlines the Impreza’s more abstract sins.
First, there’s its free-love, patchouli-wearing, peacenik past; this Impreza is a recovering hippie car. According to the post, the former owner is currently in the Peace Corps, living in a mud hut “somewhere between a Heaven's Gate meeting and Bernie Sanders Rally.” Sounds pretty altruistic, dude, but it is hard to get self-righteousness out of the upholstery.
Then, the self-described “ambivalent” owner declares that this Subaru, though it appears to be a mortal vessel, actually hosts the occult. The Subie is “Haunted/Possessed.” After pulling into a truck stop to snooze, the owner suffered possession and drove, while asleep, in circles around the parking lot. Though no one, nary a lot lizard, was harmed, poltergeists are never a “plus” in a used car.
The ad goes on. It notes that the car is responsible for the author’s return to the frozen hellscape of Minnesota, and that the trunk is large and very usable, though the hatch requires a small dowel (included) to stay open. The manual transmission makes the car feel like the “younger cousin at the Rally family gathering that no one likes,” while the engine is supposedly the same as that in a Porsche “Boxer.”
Ultimately, the writer concludes that the Impreza is a decent ride, despite a worn-out clutch and some dings and dents. He hates it, but not with good reason. Resentment can seep into any relationship, no? As a final note, the author gestures towards a future beyond “Thumper” and its myriad hauntings and problems: “Here is a picture of Thumper in all his glory. Or her glory. I don't know - it’s a pretty androgynous vehicle, still trying to establish its identity on the highway of life.” Even as he says goodbye to a bedeviling beast, the poster wonders at the nature of its humanity. Sounds like a good guy.