I'd probably have better luck than I've had with cars.
Today is a combination of re-posting two past missives on my never-ending saga with cars and the latest chapter in my ongoing power struggle with the vehicles in my life.
In August 2010, I was forced to take on a car payment I couldn’t really afford because my 1999 Saturn’s clutch/transmission situation had reached the point of no return. I shopped around and found a reasonably priced 2001 Honda Civic with about 73K miles on it. Since I’ve always loved Hondas and the mileage was practically in its infancy (Hondas can go to 200K), I signed on the dotted line. (And got an affordable loan from my credit union.)
Well, the inspection was up this past August… As usual, I was short on funds, so I didn’t get it into the shop til early September. I was expecting maybe tires and brake pads, you know under $400.00.
Yeah—I totally forgot, this was me I was dealing with…
$1,500.00 later the “Check Engine” light finally went out and I was able to pass the emissions test. Part of that was new wheel ball bearings and struts and a bunch of other wheel stuff.
Why God, why? I just drive the things from point a to point B—what am I doing to deserve these financially crushing car bills?
I keep begging my daughter to fall in love with a mechanic, but she just won’t cooperate.
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To say the least, my relationship to vehicles has been quite one-sided: they take and take and take. And I spend and spend and spend. It can get a little frustrating. When I got married in 1973, we had a 1968 Beetle--I learned to drive in that car. I didn't want to learn stick, but it was all we had. And I got pretty good at pop-starting it and double-clutching. When our daughter was born, we felt we needed a safer, bigger, family car... we bought a '73 Ford Pinto...yep, a Pinto.
Then we had his and hers VW sedans--purely by accident too. Eventually my ex went to trucks and I was a Honda girl. But I have never owned a new car, so with all of these vehicles came assorted "issues." There was the car with a different colored hood that embarrassed the crap out of my 80s era, fashion is everything offspring.... One time, I had invoices for a new windshield, a new muffler and a tire on my dashboard to explain why my inspection sticker was slightly expired.
Let's not even talk about the cars we helped our kids buy...one of which my daughter crashed into a tree. "Sweetheart, trees always win." The car was totaled, but thank god she was okay. Several bumps and cuts, but okay.
The first car I ever totally purchased on my own was a Toyota Paseo. I loved that car; it was sporty looking and had great pickup. I felt young again when I drove it. One day, I was driving home from work, all of the lights on the dash lit up and the car just died. It was beyond hope and I was devastated. It was as painful as my divorce—I was losing something special to me. I replaced it with a 1999 Saturn. It was in good shape and had low mileage. Well, the front bumper got caught on a spike sticking up in my apartment's lot and I had to drive around with the bumper bungee-corded onto the car for about 3 months til I could afford to fix it. And somehow, I have no idea how, I wound up with only one hubcap--my son said "Mom, what are you hanging on to?" Then the front panel on the passenger side got broken [cars are made of paper these days] when I gently slid on the ice one day. So, suddenly, I'm driving a hoop-dee--no way can you put a claim in to your insurance! Cause they'll either raise your rates or drop you completely.
So I just drive it, ignore my kids comments and pretend it's a Porsche.
** ** **
okay, so tonight was the first read-thru of Fuddy Meers, a play by David Lindsay Abaire [ more on that later]. I'm looking forward to the challenge of playing a stroke victim--with major aphasia....
The read-thru went well; I'm feeling good as I'm driving home around 10ish. First acting role in about a year [the knee injury has had me side-lined since March] and I think I can meet the challenges of the role.
I'm stopped at a red-light, listening to WMMR, wondering what The Daily Show will do tonight... The light changes to green; I go to put my car in gear—nothing. The gearshift just wobbles loosely all over the place. Oh joy.
Had to have the car towed.
Pray to the automobile gods that this isn't going to cost an arm and a leg--I only have one fully functioning one right now anyway.
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