When I was a kid, I had rhythms of anxiety. I would worry over daily homework -- did I have all the books I needed to do the assignments overnight? I'd worry about being ready for the next concert -- did I practice my clarinet enough? I was anxious about the next year's car models -- what would they look like, and how would they change?
Automobiles fascinated me. During that period of time, cars went through cyclic changes in styling from year to year. In September, I watched newspapers and magazines to see what the next model year's vehicles were going to look like. There were no sneak peeks. In transport, the new cars were wrapped so we couldn't see them.
The rhythm of change for cars was model year by model year.
Since then, a number of factors have contributed to altering my standard of measure. These include greater competition, gas shortages, and radical shifts in the economy. Vehicles were no longer changed as much from year to year. Instead, they went through design cycles every four to seven years, depending on the manufacturer.
Of course, I've changed, too. Anxieties have not gone away, but age has helped me to see what's important and what I can let go.
My measure of change in vehicles became miles. As I put more and more miles on each vehicle I owned, I saw my final mileage for them go up to 80,000, 100,000, 125,000, 150,000 and more on the odometers. The repeated numerals acted as mileage landmarks. That's one of the reasons that Subaru offers 100k and 200k icons as two of the choices for its free Badge of Ownership.
Last weekend, the Drive Performance WRX tripped over 22,222 miles -- I keep track of such repeated numerals. I wanted to stop the car and photograph the odometer, but traffic and conditions didn't allow it. I was in North Carolina, heading for an area on the western side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
With each of these numerical milestones, a car becomes more personal. I've been lucky to be able to drive this WRX for most of its 22,222 miles, and I look forward to 33,333. That will be later this year, if all goes according to plan.
When you look through the DP WRX Journal entries from the past year, you'll find that I've made a number of long-distance round trips from Milwaukee with it. It's a ready traveler, and with its modifications, it attracts more attention than I'm accustomed to experiencing. Altogether, though, it's fun -- a joy to drive! I look forward to each trip.
-- Ric Hawthorne