The official end of the Focus Party

Editor’s note: My sister and I owned the same kind of car for a long time. We each had a Ford Focus – mine tan and hers gray – that we nicknamed Mary-Kate and Ashley, because, as children of the 90s, those were the most popular twins we could think of to name our cars after.

I sold mine a year ago – read about that saga here. And just this past week, my sister sold hers.

She doesn’t have a blog and expressed her concern that she wouldn’t get to give it a proper Internet goodbye. Add to that the fact that I’ve told her I want her to guest blog for a while now, and you have this: Rachel’s farewell to her little Focus, twin to mine and a little silver car full of memories. Enjoy.

I’ve been saying I want to sell my Focus (aka Mary Kate) and get a new car for several months now.

Last Monday while driving home from work, I decided I was going to make a move and ultimately force myself to actually go through with it. Well, one Craigslist post, 19 hours , 6 phone calls and 25 emails later, a man drove to my work to look the car over and decide if he wanted it. I asked our security guys to watch out the window while I met with this guy just in case he was actually the next Craigslist killer, coming to kidnap me and turn me and make me his next victim.

Or as Laura put it, I’d be inspiration for the next Lifetime movie. However, the man showed up with his 17-year-old daughter (who the car is for) with seemingly no intentions to kidnap or kill me. Score!

While I stood there watching the two of them push every button in the car and test the sun roof three times, I suddenly felt like I was making a mistake. But it was too late. Turns out they loved the car, duct-taped window and all, and wanted it immediately. I told them I couldn’t give it up until Friday because I had a few things to take care of first. Truth is, I just wasn’t ready to part with it so suddenly. And I would have needed a ride home from work.

The drive home that day was sad. I felt like I was betraying a friend. Getting rid of something that had been loyal to me and been a part of my life for so long. I started thinking of all the memories. So since I know Laura loves lists, and this is her blog, I made a list of some of the best memories.

• The first night I got the car – I picked Chuckie up and we drove to a friend’s house, where we piled seven people into the thing and I took them all for a spin. I felt so cool. Oh and don’t worry – this was before all the laws about how many people a teenage driver can have in their
car at one time. (Although I think seven in a five-person car would still have been illegal…)

• The day I accidentally locked our dog, Lucy, in the car when I was trying to take her along with me to run errands. Thank God for AAA.

•Two road trips to Florida, once with family and once with friends. Both verrrrry different trips but both fun nonetheless.

• Countless Sunday afternoons when I drove back to UK from a weekend at home down Versailles Road right at sunset, with the windows down and Maroon Five blaring.

• One time I took friends to dinner in Lexington and we had just one too many people to fit, so a friend rode in the trunk to keep us from having to take two cars. He was my one and only trunk passenger.

• Crying and cussing like a sailor after the ice storm when I desperately needed to go somewhere and spent almost two hours getting my car out of the two inches of ice and snow it was buried under.

•The day after I graduated from UK when I was finally able to put a UofL cardinals sticker on the window.

Maybe it’s weird to be so sentimental about a car, but the Focus is so much more than just a car. It was my FIRST car. And your first car is really a symbol for the new-found independence and responsibility you gain when you’re finally able to drive off on your own. And to a 16-year-old, your first car really just symbolizes freedom. I’ve joked before that the top three places I spend all my time are work, home and Havana Rumba. But really, my car should be right up there between home and Havana Rumba.

This car has heard me laugh a lot, heard me cry a lot, heard me act out the entire Wicked soundtrack like I’m Elphaba, heard some funny conversations, some sad ones and actually even heard some life- changing conversations. It’s only killed one animal (RIP bunny) and it’s only been in one and a half minor
wrecks.

The good news is, I’m passing it on to a young 17-year-old girl like me, who will hopefully start the memory process all over again. I hope she crams 7 friends into it the first night she has it. I hope she takes it on road trips and uses the sun roof so much it breaks. I hope she sings her favorite songs at the
top of her lungs in it and maybe even has a life-changing talk in it someday. But mostly, I just hope she takes care of it. I know I’ll soon have a new car to make brand new memories in, but like a first love, a first car always holds a special place in your heart too.

Mary Kate, I’m going to miss you. Duct-taped window and all.

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