Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mileage Milestones

What is it about our cars that cause us to take interest in the odometer reading? Whether the car is used or new I surely am not alone in being fascinated when the "clock" turns over every 1,000 miles. The paradox in seeing the range of numbers turn over, of course, is that each mile depreciates our prized possession that further while marking some minor sense of achievement in the distance personally traveled. Too bad much of that mileage is centered upon the commute to work and trips to the grocery store. Purchased or leased, a new car, new smells and all, represents virgin mileage. Nobody else has driven the vehicle and it almost encourages the new owner not to put too many "clicks" on the meter, this to try and preserve as much of the newness of the vehicle as possible. That first turnover, at 100 miles, usually eases the inevitable, that the car/truck/bike was bought to be driven - there was no turning back. Not legally, anyway. With a used car the thrill, if any, lies merely in the purchase for we all know this horse has been ridden before and whatever personality it contains it is ours to learn and adapt to. How many times has the car passed some milestone that you had previously marked in your mind to observe and then missed it by a mile? Here comes the next, "000" in the series and you want to watch the mileage turn over. Then, either forgotten or distracted, you look down and the odometer says "001." Argh! After retracing that mile back up the road in your mind you remember where you were when the event most likely occurred: either traveling at speed and unable to take your eyes off the road or just pulling out of the gas station and several blocks down the road before remembering. Or something to that effect. Oh but the worst ones are still to come. All kinds of numbers can come in to play: the birthday, a zip code or the miles that correspond to the month, day and year. There's nothing now to do except wait for the next occasion to pop up, in another 1,000 miles. Try something like when the odometer is only a few miles short of 333, 3333 or even 33,333. There is no next thousand miles for that number to come around again, it's gone. There is only another 11,111 miles to go until 44,444 pops up on the odometer and you are hopefully there to see it. A little over 11,000 miles? That's anywhere from nine months to at least a solid year of driving to get to and get through, but most definitely you will do your best to remember that next one. My car just went through 111,111 miles on the clock and I was there to see it. I was driving at high speed at the time, though, so I couldn't take a picture of the moment but I do remember it and where I was...on my way to work! I bought mine used so not all of those miles are mine but indeed I enjoyed being able to mark that milestone. I'm not entirely sure I will have that car when it reaches 222,222! Gotta go.

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