I'd love to address this as a letter, but though I love naming inanimate objects, I never named you, knowing I'd likely give you up in a few years. I can't extend my lease any longer, so that time has come - when I return to Orlando after Thanksgiving, it'll be time to turn you in.
Believe me, you've been a great car and I thought about keeping you. It's not your fault that Prius batteries tend to go after a few years, and that this grad student isn't equipped to give you the care you might need in the near future. But I've loved having you around - fuel efficiency has saved me money, your backup camera has saved my bumper from scrapes (sorry about the one on your side!), I've even gotten used to your weird blind spot in the back window, and your super-sensitive brakes. I absolutely hate driving - but I can't imagine having acclimated myself to Central Florida's terrible roads and terrible drivers with anyone else.
I've taken all the stereotypes about Prius drivers in stride - yes, I'm a bit of a pushover on the road (well, really I'm more passive-aggressive than passive; tail me and I'm quick to spritz you with wiper fluid or give my brakes a tap or five.) I've dressed you up in sea turtle and peace sign decals. I've frequently lost my you in the Whole Foods parking lot, trying to load my shopping bags of tofu and organic veggies into one of your brethren - there are always twenty other Priuses in the lot at any given time. A car can truly be an extension of its driver, and I'm proud of that fact.
Thank you for putting up with me - for all the times I've lost you not only in Whole Foods but in EPCOT's parking lot; hitting the panic button on your remote isn't very helpful when half the parkgoers have done the same thing, creating a parking lot cacophony that screams above the booms and high-pitched sighs of the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show. Thank you for proudly displaying my Annual Passholder status, for getting as excited as I was about living so close to Disney.
More than anything, thank you for getting me and my boyfriend down to Orlando safely and as comfortable as possible when driving down most of the Eastern seaboard. The day after I signed the lease, we'd taken you from your first home, Philly, to Boston for a Memorial Day Weekend in which you dutifully took us between the aquarium, Cheers, Fenway Park. Since that trip involved passing through NYC, I guess I've taken you to every East Coast hotspot for aggressive drivers, and you've always held your own (something I could never do!)
As I watched you pass placidly through a carwash yesterday morning, watching you move without me at the wheel, I realized just how much I'll miss you. I'm sure I'll come to love my next car just as much. It's looking like it'll be a sturdy Subaru - now that I know how hard it is to say goodbye to a good car, I don't want to have to go through this again for a while. But knowing all the changes we've been through together, you'll always hold a special place in my heart, and I don't know how to thank you enough.