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I’m in mourning.  Friday morning, just as we were waking up, a huge tree fell behind our house without any warning whatsoever (not a breath of wind to speak of) and smashed my Outback.  All things considered, we were fortunate—had the tree fallen an hour later, Will and I might have been getting in it (and I would be a quick six inches shorter).  Nonetheless, I was sad this morning to start my Subaru up for the last time and move her down to the curb to be towed away as a total loss.  I may have had to hunch over the wheel like an octogenarian to fit inside, but she still ran perfectly—that car had a lot of good miles (and more long summer trips) left in her.  This was the first car I purchased new, and I owned it longer than I did either of my previous two.  We’ve shared a lot of good times, last summer’s odyssey being the high point.  She will be missed.

There’s a Subaru somewhere under there.

The picture doesn’t really do justice to the carnage.

So I’ve got to get a new car now, and I’m torn about what to do.  I’d run right out this afternoon and buy my third Subaru—in so many ways my Outback was the perfect car for me—but the siren call of 50 mpg from the new diesel VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI is pretty hard to resist, both for economic and ethical reasons.  With that kind of mileage, Atlanta’s sprawl would feel like less of a prison.  Then again, the TDI has at least a three month waiting period becase demand is so high, and I need something fast.  And muddying the water even more is the promise that Subaru will bring a 50 mpg diesel Outback to the U.S. in 2010.   I don’t want to spring for a new car if it’s not exactly what I want.  Do I settle for a stop-gap used car for a couple of years until perfection comes along again?   Can I pretend for a while to be a short-term-relationship kind of guy?

Hey Subaru USA, if you read this post, shame on you for taking so long to bring the diesel to America!  Your legions of tree-hugging, outdoor-junkie fans would love it!  And while I’m at it, why don’t you offer the Limited with a manual transmission?  I shouldn’t have to settle for cloth seats just because I want something fun to drive.

So why did the tree just up and fall over?  Evidently it’s a casualty of our protracted drought.  Growing just a few feet away from the little bungalow behind us, it wasn’t getting enough soil moisture to sustain the roots that had grown underneath the foundation.  When these roots lost vitality and rotted, the tree was free to fall in the direction of most of its canopy weight—right towards the back of our house.  Now I know that it’s not possible to directly blame any given drought in the Southeastern U.S. on climate change, in the same way you can’t blame any single unusually strong hurricane on global warming.  But the connection is there.  So I have to ask (while donning my flame-proof suit): did global warming kill my car?

BTW: I’m fully aware that I ripped off the title for this post from the recent book by Doug Fine.  I have been wanting to read Farewell, My Subaru anyway, so now I’ll get to it to commemorate the occasion.  Maybe I’ll post a review here.

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