There are things in life that you take for granted, without even being aware of the fact that they are fixtures around which you navigate and build your frame of reference. Two of mine have been yanked from my universe by forces cruel and beyond my control: Newcastle United, and the Pontiac division of General Motors. The first happened because of hard luck, the latter because of hard times.
Newcastle -- for the first time in twenty years -- have been relegated. You will not find them in the tv schedule next season, as the brave boys of Northern England, the Geordies, will be playing Championship level (sounds good, doesn't it? But top flight is the Premiership. Premier beats Champion). For as long as I've been following football, Newcastle have been a sure thing, a respected name even if they didn't rack up the trophies. They are the only Premiership level team in Newcastle and parts surrounding, meaning they have fierce and loyal supporters who are now consoling each other with pints at the local pub. I saw grown men crying in the stands after the game, when the reality of their predicament sank in. I feel a great deal of sadness for the people of Newcastle and hope that they will be able to regroup and return after a year away from the Big Show.
As for Pontiac -- come on GM! Really? Looking at the bleak landscape of their financial reports they decide to discontinue the Pontiac line. I don't know the sums, and I wasn't in on the meeting at which they discussed their options for corporate survival. I do know that the first car I have real memories of was a big red Pontiac Grand LeMans sport coup. Many miles were logged in that car, on two continents, cross country, up Alps and Rockies. My own first car was somewhat smaller - a beautiful red Pontiac Firefly. Gosh, driving that car was fuh-uhn. Three cyclinders of fun. I packed a lot of stuff and people into it. It took me every day to my first real job. It drove me to a new home half a province away, took me camping, got me lost in a foreign country. Took more than the strictly legal number of people bowling late at night, followed by nachos at the pub even later at night. It brought me to school every day, and helped me escape from class (not quite every day). When I moved into my first apartment, my red rocket ensured the steady supply of healthy, nutritious food (interpret that as you will) and generally was the lynchpin of my active young adult life. How can it be, that today there is Pontiac, and tomorrow there will not be Pontiac? I haven't come to grips with that fact yet.