Say Goodbye: A Camaro Story
In 1998, I was drawn into the epic romance of a song I enjoyed but had never actually experienced. Dave Mathews Band featured “Say Goodbye”, on Crash, and I couldn’t stop listening to it during my senior year of high school. It is a song of longing for an evanescent love. At the time, I thought I saw it reflected in my own relationships, but, over the years, one learns that “what ifs” play on repeat throughout life and carry many different melodies.
Flash forward 20 years to a seemingly unrelated anecdote. My son and I got really into Chevy Camaros. His interest in cars started in kindergarten, and, as mine blossomed closer to middle age, I began shopping for a second car as a companion to my trusty Toyota FJ Cruiser. I researched and got seat time in many fun cars to enjoy together, and I took him along whenever I could.
I had driven several Camaros, but this one was a little more special. I did a lap around the dealership with the sales rep, and he offered me an extended test drive if I brought in my son. I jumped at the chance. After all, this was quite a car to show off to a little boy! It was a sixth generation, V8, 2SS trim. It had MagneRide. It was yellow with the black graphics package. It had the active dual exhaust. It had Eagle F1 Supercar Tires. It was so yellow.
Naturally, we named it Bumblebee.
We giggled, well, like five-year-olds as we responsibly “hooned” the car around some local roads. We listened to tunes and chatted while we cruised down the highway. For a couple of hours, I was the coolest dad in the world. For a couple of hours, I was in high school again. Pining for all the possibility of what the future might bring. Finally getting to share it with someone special.
But I deliberated too long on buying the car. I’ve regretted it ever since.
We drove by the dealership a week later, and Bumblebee was still on the lot. We waved to it. We didn’t realize in a few days it would be sold. By that time, my head had convinced my heart to go with something more practical. Trade the FJ for a Jeep Wrangler? Ok, I’m not all that sensible. But still, there’s a lesson here…
We have a diecast model of that yellow Camaro that I gaze at once in a while whenever it surfaces from the toy box. And the magic of that old music plays in my mind, stirs me, brings me back, makes me wonder what might have been. But now I smile because it reminds me not to settle for a song (or a car). To, instead, seek the experience–however fleeting. Even if it means tomorrow we say goodbye.
Bill hosts a blog and YouTube channel that lead him to think more deeply about what it means to drive. The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.