My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Here In My Car

2006-03-24

I was reading something in the Chronicle of Philanthropy this week I don't remember what but it was an interview with somebody on the subject of trust and car dealers. I realized: I have never bought a car from a dealer. Ever. I've never bought a new car, either.

I've had three cars in my life and I've loved each one of them.

Car Number One

1969 Volkswagen Beetle. Maroon but originally yellow. Black interior. Seriously most awesome car ever. The "dashboard" had about four knobs and that was it. Really, who needs more than that? It had a nice huge analog clock in the "dials and gizmos" section above the steering wheel. You always knew what time it was. The AM radio had on on/off/volume knob and a find-a-station knob. Period. It was simple. Just the way I like most things. Why fancify for the sake of fanciness? My current CD player has more "options" than I'll ever be able to figure out so I haven't.

The Bug was not perfect but she got me places, most times, and when she had a problem, it was easily fixed because its engine was to manual typewriters as a new car engine is to a computer (I aced the Analogies section on my SATs the only thing I aced). The battery lived under the back seat. She was bouncy (no shocks) and could drive in any weather. This was the car I was driving when my pseudo-boyfriend (the pathetic trust fund poet) dumped me in a local spaghetti joint.

My dad helped me buy her when I was a nanny for his second batch of children. My step-mother deducted a portion of the "loan" from my paychecks every week. Once I stopped working for her it was unclear whether I needed to keep paying her back even though I had no money. Eventually, I asked her what I still owed and she said, dismissively, "Oh the records are somewhere in the attic." Meaning...did I still need to pay her back or not? Passive-aggression runs in the family and she's not even related to me by blood. Sad. So, I can only assume 18 years later that the loan has been written off. However much I still owed on that $1,000, I'll probably never know.

The Bug got me back and forth to Roanoke (a three hour drive each way) to visit my boyfriend (now husband) for a year. Then, she died. She was donated to (I hope) a good cause. I loved that car.

Car Number Two

1986 Subaru GL Station Wagon. Bought this baby from my mother for $100. She was willing to take $25 but, really, I was still getting a bargain at $100 and mother could use the dough. I think I got more than 200,000 miles on Old Rusty, as we called her, before she died on me. She had a constant oil leak that never could be fixed. She'd had a shitty paint job in the factory (no rust proofing done on the hood) and the entire hood was a sheet of rust while the rest was a nice matte cherry red. She was jaunty but only had an AM/FM radio and cassette player that ate tapes. So, I listened to NPR until I couldn't stand to hear people talk any longer. The AM stations didn't come in well enough to bother with. Eventually, the A/C died. Then the heat. Dusty was born and I realized that having a newborn in the winter in a car with no heat was not really an ideal situation. Then, Old Rusty croaked and she was also given to a good cause.

Car Number Three

1998 Subaru Impreza Wagon (pre-Outback). Bought 'er when Dusty was five months old from a woman who was pregnant with her second child. Her husband had bought her a minivan. The Soob needed a clutch so they dropped the price by $600. Sweet. She's green - a not-very-attractive color for a car if you ask me. But, she's steady. Trustworthy. Her oil leak has been fixed but she leaks water when it rains onto the floor of the back seat under Red's feet. The carpet is ruined and I keep it well sprinkled with baking power (Tres Attractive!) to absorb the mildew and stench until I can bring myself to get it fixed. That'll probably never happen. I bought a CD player for this car. With all the driving I do, it was essential. The display doesn't work anymore probably an electrical short, something all my cars have had in common. She's got $130k miles on her. I finish paying for her in May. At which point, she'll probably up and die.

And with that have a good weekend. We'll be spending ours swinging upon our new swings and waiting for warm weather.

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4:10 p.m. ::
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