Info on the contest is here. A little more info about how I'll choose the stories is at the beginning of this post. Blogging got comense in
I'm hunting for a car and this has gotten me thinking about the cars I have known.
The car I never drove
When I turned fifteen my grandmother took me to a car dealership. The sales guy to the 1500 dollars I had saved working two summers scrapping gum off of school desks -- turning poor kids into janitors for the summer starting at age 14 was special program thought up by I don't know who. Well it taught me a valuble lesson: janitor was not the right job for me. Anyway, I was fifteen, soon to be sixteen and I needed to get x number of hours supervised driving which I could not do because everybody seemed to think I was incapable-- well everybody seemed to think I was generally incapable of a lot, but that's an other story. Anyway, the only way I could learn was if I had my own car to wreck. I don't remember the make of it but I do remember never driving it. If I'd known what a flood damaged vehicle was, then I'd have know that's what I'd been sold. I didn't know and so I sunk another three thousand dollars trying to repair it. In the interim I got a job and rode my bike to work.
The car I abused
This car got a name. Piece of Shit. She was a Chevy Celebrity with 167,000 miles and blue where there wasn't rust. There was more rust than paint. I paid $500.00 for her, which foster father (this was a different home than before) called $500.00 dollars too much. I happened to agree but she ran. And she ran. And she ran. That year I graduated high school a year early and headed off to Missouri in pursuit of higher education and the scholarship money that I would never see. I arrived on a campus full of 18 year-old in shiny, just off the lot graduation presents. Because I had followed the financial aide to a private school, Piece of Shit really looked like a piece of shit among it's glossier counterparts. Driving down I had passed much nicer vehicles broken down on the road, but on campus I felt ashamed of Piece of Shit and I hid her in the back. I abused her in every way a care could be abused. I never had her oil changed and when she started blowing oil, I didn't always pour more oil. Some times I ran the engine until I heard her knock. She dragged her muffler around for a couple months until it finally fell off. I never put on new brakes and she got used tired. It wasn't being cheap and I really wasn't that poor. I just avoid things that I think will be unpleasant. I figured a trip to the mechanic would be unpleasant.
Finally, I did take her in because the water I had been poring into the radiator stopped leaking, and just poured right back out. By that time reverse didn't always work. The mechanic opened the hood and stood shrouded in billows of smoke.
"My God," the mechanic exclaimed. "Why's it still running?"
He then gave me a list of everything it needed and told me to scrap it. I had come to love that car, so I put an add in the paper listing everything that was wrong with STILL RUNS in all caps. A guy who knew a bit about cars gave me $200.00 bucks for her on the hope and prayer she'd last until he got his tax return back. I wouldn't be surprised if she was still on the road somewhere smoking along.
I wanted a truck and when I said goodbye to Piece of Shit, I got an S-10 that was a real hunk of junk. There's no story here. It was just a bad truck, I drove it a couple of months and took a lot less than I paid to be free of her. Okay, well there is a little story. When you test drive a vehicle and dies during the test drive, don't believe a word the guy tells you. Just don't buy it.
Well, this is getting kind of long and I've owned quite a few second hand vehicles. I almost bought a car at a lot today, even financing something new and cheap, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. One reason is I got burned big time on my first car by dealer. But you know, I also got this away of thinking about cars. A new car is nice but it comes with these three or four hundred dollar car payments. When you spend so much money on a new car, and you've attached it to your hip via a monthly car payment, you're stuck. So people keeping sinking money into them even when they aren't any good to begin with.
A used car at the right price is disposable. You do a little to keep it going, but never a lot, get a new one when the old one don't work so good. Rinse and repeat.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).