A Blast from My Past

James Prashant Fonseka
4 min readApr 26, 2020


Something extraordinary happened today. Well, it may not not seem extraordinary to you, but it certainly was for me. Nostalgia is the name of the game.

For the last few weeks I’ve been immersed in my past living at my grandparents home which happens to have also been my first home. I’ve been swimming in a sea of memories which has had an effect difficult to perfectly characterize on my psyche. But none of that had much bearing on today’s visit from my past. It was actually my car buying addiction that led to this glorious serendipity.

I sold my fancy car not too long ago, thinking it was extraordinarily silly to have while living in New York. I timed that almost perfectly imperfectly. I sold the car just a month before the world began to descend into covidian chaos, sending many including me fleeing from their urban homes, particularly from New York City. To make a long story short, I’m now in the suburbs and may not be back in the city for quite some time, so I’ve been thinking of buying another car.

I am extremely annoyed by the amount of time I have spent car shopping the last few days. I have frenetically nearly bought several cars ranging from a Mini Cooper S to a Porsche 911 Carrera S. Besides both having the model “S” (sorry, wasn’t looking at any Teslas), those are very different cars and normally not cross shopped by any sane person. When it comes to car buying I am no sane person. But I do have some self control.

Despite getting close to buying several silly and unnecessary purchases, I managed to step away, look at myself, and see that I was being silly and walk away from any exorbitant or risky purchases. I decided I’d maybe consider the modest purchase of an inexpensive late model BMW, with a stick, because I like driving stick. And then, it happened. I stumbled across my old car for sale.

She actually looks to be in pretty good shape, I put about 40% of the miles on her

I knew instantly that it was mine, even before I checked VIN. It’s an oddball one-of-a-kind car. I had special ordered it in 2012 as a 2013 model with a manual transmission, M-Sport package, the nicer sound system and almost nothing else. It was the 21 year old’s specification of a car for 50 year olds. That poor car has a sad little piece of plastic where the big fancy navigation screen would go and you have have to press the key to manually unlock it because I couldn’t afford to order any of the options that pretty much every other 2013 BMW 535i was equipped with from the factory.

The day I picked her up in Plano, TX with 7 miles on the odometer. Cell phone cameras have come a long way.

To top it off the car still has the questionable also seemingly one-off Racing Dynamics quad-exhaust I bought off eBay and had installed by someone on the side of the road for about $20. You can’t tell in the pictures, but one side is crooked, and I’m guessing that’s why I was able to buy it for cheap. This quirky and strange car was once mine, and it seems to have followed me.

Though I sold this car to a dealer in California five years ago, it now resides just a few miles away from me in Virginia. If that isn’t serendipity, I don’t know what is. It feels a bit like running into an old girlfriend, except my cars have always been better to me, if needier and more expensive. I understand that my experience may be the inverse of most people’s.

I don’t really want a 911 anymore. I kind of want this car back. I miss it, just like so many of the memories from this house. Though the people who are gone won’t come back, the car could. Depreciation is a beast on middle aged german muscle so it wouldn’t cost me much at all. But should it come back?

I’m not sure. There was a reason I sold it in the first place. It’s a bit like when you’re tempted to get back with an ex. You remember all the good and forget the bad. But maybe cars are different.