Monday, October 19, 2015

Auf Wiedersehen, Frau Audi

Oh, Frau Audi, how we will miss you.  No one was ready to let go, but a window of opportunity appeared and we jumped out of it--or jumped in, depending on your point of view.

Frau Audi was a prankster.  If she felt like the occasion in the car needed music, she would turn it on herself.  Even as we tried to silence her, she kept putting it back on.

Every once in a while, she would make a weird mechanical sound, not let the center console light up or decide not to accelerate at the worst possible minute.  Just when you were sure we needed major repair shop intervention, she would magically go back to normal the next time you turned the key in the ignition.

The old gal was bought as a new gal, to combat the evils of the gasoline engine.  She was clean diesel.  She was 45 miles to the gallon on the highway.  She was forgetting which side the gas tank was on when you filled up at the station, because even after 5 years, the visits for gas were still so infrequent.

She was cutting edge German technology, until a few weeks ago, when poor Frau Audi became Faud-I.  All of the do-gooders with diesel engines at Volkswagon were branded with the scarlet F for fraud.  Not only were they not saving the Earth--they were killing it up to 40 times the legal emission limit.

The news spread far and wide, and you had to read the last paragraphs to realize that it was not only VWs, it was Audi's A3 TDI as well.  How were they going to fix this?  What effects would it have on the cars after they were fixed?  Would our zippy, little car be able to retain her zip?  Would she retain her astounding gas mileage?  Would she be branded a lemon and not be worth a dime, even after 5 years of loyal service.

Frau was the first car for both my son and daughter.  They learned the rules of the road.  They learned the rules at the gas station--green nozzle only.

She went in for her annual service.  The call came from the service department.  New tires, new brakes and new windshield wipers needed--to the tune of $1300.  The annual service itself was $799 if I bought a 2 package special.

Poor Frau, she had been rear ended, backed into when parked twice, and damaged straight off the boat.  She had a new windshield AND 4 new tires.  All in her short 5 year lifetime with us.  Her paint was sketchy, her rims were rashed but we loved her.  Actually, still do love her.

It was sad to see you parked beside your shiny, new replacement.  It was not because you weren't shiny, because you were looking damn good for a 5 year old.  It was because we were saying good bye to an era.

Frau Audi, I hope your next family will take good care of you.  I guarantee they will not have travel scrabble in the back seat secret compartment.  They probably won't have an affinity for the 80's channel on Sirius.  I hope they drive you slow and gently and at an angle over the speed bumps.  I hope they always keep you a little bit on the full side in the gas tank so you never know what it means to go empty.

Even though you are accused of being a bad car, a dirty diesel, you are not bad.  It is fitting to compare you to Frankenstein.  The evil engineers who put that fix on your emissions are the bad ones.  You have a good heart and soul, and we will keep our eyes on the lookout for you, cruising down the highway.

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