In 1998, I was drawn into the epic romance of a song I enjoyed but had never actually experienced. Dave Mathews Band wrote “Say Goodbye”, on Crash, and I couldn’t stop listening to it during my senior year of high school. It is a song of lust and longing for the lover you couldn’t keep for more than just one night. It is a beautiful, passionate song, and let’s just say that my relationships in the time before graduation never lived up to it.
Flash forward nearly 20 years. My son and I got really into 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 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 many 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 V8. It had magna ride. It was yellow with the black graphics package. It had the active exhaust. It had Eagle F1 Supercar Tires. It was 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 future. 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 model of that yellow Camaro that I gaze at once in awhile whenever it surfaces from the toy box. The magic of that old music 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. To, instead, seek the experience–however fleeting. Even if it means tomorrow we say goodbye.
We’ll always have Bumblebee!