As excited as I am about my new MINI cobe, it’s not easy to say goodbye to the original Cobe Car, the car I grew up with, my Mazda Protege. Time to get emotional.

That car got me to 1st period on time (almost) every day in high school. That car earned me my first (and so far, my only…) speeding ticket. Led me to concert venues to see bands I’m too embarrassed to mention now. Gave me a space for heart-to-hearts, petty arguments, and existential conversations that were entirely beyond my level of maturity. Set the scene for first kisses, goodbye kisses, awkward dates, and miserable breakups. That car took me on unforgettable road trips that fostered inside jokes and amplified uncontrollable laughter. It was my rehearsal stage for big presentations and speeches, my hideaway during emotional breakdowns, and my dining room in-transit for meals on the go.

It transformed into an imaginary karaoke bar for bad singalongs, and stood by as my schizophrenic musical tastes evolved through Top 40, Emo, Alt Rock, Pop Country, Indie Rock, Classic Rock, Motown, Folk Rock, and back to Indie Rock again. That car fought to keep the tradition of mixed tapes alive, with a glove compartment full of homemade, sharpie-decorated CDs that eventually lost their place to the iPod connector I shoved in the cigarette lighter. 

That car traveled to college with me, reminded me of home when I was homesick, and stood it’s ground during football season to host tailgates in between SUVs and pick-up trucks. It kept me safe in my first car accident. Endured undeserved foul language when my keys were “accidentally” locked inside in the middle of nowhere on a camping trip, kept me warm when I got stuck in a ditch during a blizzard, and forgave me each and every time I hit a curb and got a flat tire.

It held crammed boxes and oddly shaped breakables intact when I moved my life to Raleigh. Inspired me to start I Love Commuting.  And put up with all of my whining and complaining when in reality I had nothing to whine about. Even despite my maintenance neglect, she always got me where I needed to go.  We got lost together and we found our way together. And for that, the Cobe Car can never truly be replaced.

MINI Cobe certainly has big shoes to fill.