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Farewell, Penelope

Amber Adrian

You know how sometimes you make a grave tactical error and then have no choice but to soldier valiantly on and pray you don’t die?

Yup, me too. More often than I’d like to admit.

My intuition is bang on target about many things.

Just a few days ago, I was walking toward the town square and thought “Maggie’s here.” Maggie is a lovely woman I have met maybe twice at a friend’s house and know very little about except that she has cute kids and does not live in Marin County. So there was absolutely no reason to think she would be sitting in the square I was about to pass. But, sure enough, 15 seconds later, there she was. It was a random and very efficient intuition barometer.

Just a few hours ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop reading Harry Potter - my favorite autumnal activity - and drinking a pumpkin spice latte - my favorite autumnal guilty pleasure - when I looked up and smiled at a woman walking past. As I did, I felt her energetically hook into me and thought, “Whoops. This is about to get interesting.” Sure enough, a few minutes later she initiated a rather bizarre interaction that showed me my energetic boundaries are doing better than I generally give myself credit for, because I was able to be kind without allowing her to pull me into the fear she was swimming in.

But sometimes - usually when I’m thinking too much - my intuition fails me quite spectacularly.

My initial hit was to rent a car for my jaunt from Mill Valley to Half Moon Bay, a journey that’s about an hour too long for the current health of my 13-year-old Mini Cooper.

But trying to wrangle a rental car would have meant driving 25 minutes in the wrong direction and ultimately became annoying enough a process that I just didn’t want to deal with it. So I thought, “Eh, it’ll be fine. Penelope will make it.”

To be fair, Penelope did make it. Both of us are still alive.

But about twenty minutes into what turned into a deeply harrowing day, I realized I had allowed my optimism to get the better of me.

A few hours later, I was flat-out praying. To god, the angels, the flying spaghetti monster, anyone who would help me get home in one piece.

Again, to be fair to my intuition, I did get a very strong “We will get you home safe.” But, as my car made grinding noises on mountains and dials flailed wildly in the ominous red zone, I wondered if perhaps I was confusing intuition with optimism again.

I wasn’t. I got home. It was fine.

But deciding not to pay attention to the “let’s make life easier and rent a car” intuitive hit bought me one rather terrifying day.

However, it did convince me that it’s time for a new car, something I had been steadfast in avoiding because I love Penelope and don’t want to give her up.

But our heart-pounding, hair-raising journey across bridge, through city, and over mountain is not something I’m ready to repeat. And there’s no point in paying California rent if you’re not going to go gallivanting through all the abundant beauty she’s got on tap.

So, after five years, Penelope and I have had our last long adventure together.

I’m sad to say goodbye. She was the car I wanted forever - and finally got after my dad passed away and buried a lot of money in the ground. Buried treasure which helped me snag Penelope when my old car died so soon after my dad. So she feels like the last thing my dad ever bought me. In a piratical sort of way.


May my next car bring me as much joy as Penelope did.

(And may I never experience a drive like that again. It was the vehicular equivalent of spending an afternoon with the albino in Princess Bride. It didn’t actually kill me but it definitely shaved a few years off my life.)