It began with fear, my relationship with Gracie. I was too afraid to drive her, and Marc patiently drove me everywhere I needed to go, for months.
Just three weeks after we bought her, she was stolen from our driveway by (we later learned) a stumbling drunken fool. The sickening thing was that she was not yet insured. I had to teach myself to accept that our brand new moped was a complete loss. It was only after I had finally arrived at that peaceful place where you can say, "it's just money", that the police called to say they'd recovered her. Typical.
Apparently, they'd seen someone driving her around at 1 am, and they'd pulled the guy right off it. Exciting stuff, a midnight showdown with Warwickshire Police and our very own moped. But we didn't get her back in one piece -- she was bent and banged and ripped apart. Since we didn't yet have insurance there wasn't much to be done for repairs. The bike shop strapped her back together and tidied her up, but she kept all the battle scars, reminding me every day that she was almost gone forever. The greasy bearded impound man christened her Gracie because most stolen mopeds never turn up.
So when we looked out the window Saturday morning and saw Gracie lying on her side with broken pieces scattered about, I wasn't shocked in the least. Vandalized by some more stumbling drunken fools, no doubt. This time we can't just pick her up and wipe her off, though -- she's dead.
I loved her. Traffic jams were a joy. As you cruise past all the people staring into space in their big fat cars in a two-mile queue going nowhere, you declare into your helmet, "see you later, suckers!" And when you park your motorbike mere yards from the Humanities Building for free while others are crawling around in their cars, desperate to find a £5 parking space, you mutter "see you later, suckers!" And when you fill up your petrol tank once a month, and the total comes to £4 instead of £40, you look at all the cars around you and laugh, "four pounds, suckers!" And with the wind in your face as you fly past the castle in the late afternoon sun, you take a big, deep, breath and turn onto your street and life is more carefree than it could ever be in a car. Oh I loved her well.
But possessions are a burden, too. Moving here has been a lesson in being less attached to stuff. It started with paring our belongings down to two suitcases each, and as the prospect of moving back to America inches closer and closer, we are again pondering all our stuff, things, junk. Granted, we have way less than we ever had in the states, but have still managed to acquire a baffling number of possessions. Gracie weighed heavily on our minds: should we sell her? Would anyone buy her, battle scars and all? Should we take her with us, to France and then to America? And how?!
Poof, problem solved: thanks, stumbling drunks, truly. We've been laughing at what a relief it is to have this piece of our moving-puzzle solved. She's insured this time, and the company has deemed her a total loss. We get some small recompense, she goes to moped heaven. Done, and done.
Poor Gracie, oh! I loved you. But I also find myself refreshingly unattached, and relieved to be free of the thing I owned that in some ways owned me.