Tag Archives: cars

Marvin <3

12 Dec

Meet Marve.

Yesterday I sat in my brand new (used) car for the first time and found it difficult to contain my raging joy.

I freaked out.  About everything.  Dave, who had a few days to bond with the car (let’s call him Marvin), smiled amusingly while I tinkered with all the bells and whistles and peed my pants. 

In order to put this in perspective, you have to understand that never, in my entire life, have I owned a car where everything in it worked as intended.  There have been leaky oil tanks, falling fabric ceilings, windows that couldn’t be rolled down for fear they never go back up, sunroofs that wouldn’t shut,  doors that could not be exited through, trunks that could not be opened, and broken gas gauges – which made for many a problematic outing.   

That doesn’t even take into account issues with body rust, major dents, color mismatches, or the car actually running. 

The struggle of the poor commuter is both arduous and exciting.  I remember one of the cars my family had growing up spontaneously caught on fire.  It caught on fire. I spent most of my life in fear that a trip in the car to get groceries was willfully plunging toward my death.

But now I have Marvin.  Marvin has working windows.  And lights and a horn and a fuel gauge and a rear defrost and a ceiling that isn’t falling down and a trunk that opens and closes and a sunroof that works and plastic parts that stay in place and I cannot contain my raging, raging joy.

When I turned around to check out the row of back seats, I noticed the middle one had a big kid seat belt instead of just a lap belt and tried to abstain from peeing with glee all over the beautiful, relatively unstained interior.  Marvin has no major dents, is all the same color, and turns on when I want him to.  It’s like I’ve won the Showcase Showdown.

There’s a part of me that can’t shake the feeling that something awful is going to reveal itself soon.  I’ll be driving it around, singing Pumped Up Kicks, feelin’ like a fly little white girl, and then my front bumper will fall off, or my ceiling will fall and encase me in its flowy fabric, or the entire car will just spontaneously burst into flame.

I suppose until I die in that fiery, tragic death I’ll just have to distract myself from fear by playing with my power windows and sunroof. 

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Rental Car Lust

4 Nov

I’m in lust with my rental car.

Like, bad.

For those of you just tuning in, 1) where have you been all my life? and 2) my major form of transportation was totaled not long ago, leaving me a fresh tutor of the public transportation system and a sad, sad girl.  

Apparently the insurance company decided to brighten our lives by giving Dave and I free use of a rental car for five days.  I don’t know why five.  I’m sure there’s some insurance algorithm to it.  Or maybe it’s just a monkey and a prize wheel; I don’t know.  All I know is I haven’t been this excited to be on four wheels in a long time.

To truly understand the complete and total lust I have for this vehicle, you have to understand that I haven’t had a car in my possession ever that’s been from the same decade as the current year.   Or hasn’t had a variety of dents and bangs and difficult personal problems to deal with.  I’ve spent a lot of time smooth-talking my cars and trying to encourage them to carry on with their lives in spite of their troubles. For the most part, I’ve just been thankful to have something that can get me from Point A to Point B, lack of air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a trunk, and two back doors aside.

Last night I sat in the car and blasted the air conditioning just so I could wriggle with excitement at its existence.  I played with the windows.  I admired the quiet, almost indistinguishable hum of the engine.  I bought groceries and when I got to the car, there was a trunk to put them in. Like, a nice sized trunk with a top that didn’t weigh fifty pounds and slam back down on my left arm if my strength failed while loading things inside with the right arm. As I pushed the grocery cart back into its stall, I lusted hard over that beautiful, working, nice-exteriored, unproblematic car like it was a high school crush.  And I have to give it back Monday.

That’s like giving me a puppy and then telling me to murder it.  I absolutely will not murder a puppy.

I’ve thought about a getaway plan.  I want to ride off into the sunset with this reliable, simplistic, capable car.   But they have my information on file and I can’t imagine I’ll get very far before I’m sent to a place that doesn’t require transportation beyond my own two feet back and forth from the mess hall.

I bought a five dollar lottery ticket when I was at the store because it had a  picture of the car on the front and promised to give away 10 to lucky winners.  I got caught up in the idea of a reliable car from the 2000’s.  I thought of how ridiculous it would be but was focusing more on how possible it was.  After all, that car has POWER WINDOWS.  The lotto ticket didn’t even have to offer a brand new car.  It could have just offered one from the last ten years and I would have peed myself if I got a car icon in and of the 12 scratch off squares.  But I scratched and scratched and nothing came but disappointment and the sinking realization that I am a complete and total moron.

I walked back to the car and admired its shiny exterior, its unworn tires, and its promise of reliable transportation and deeply regretted the 5 dollars I had just wasted on a scratch off ticket.

 I needed that money for the bus next week. 

The Peculiarities of Old Cars

2 May

old car free stock photo

I think our car is on its last metaphorical leg.

You can usually tell that things are getting serious when there is some sort of physical obstacle to hurdle every time you want to use it.  Like our car, for example, has a passenger door that doesn’t shut all the way sometimes.  Instead of latching once it connects to the actual car, it will just swing back out into the great blue yonder.  The only way to fix it is to pull the door in close to you and push in a mysterious little piece of metal by the door handle.    Once you’ve made that fine adjustment, the door shuts with ease.

The physical sign of old age is different for every car and every owner.   For example, my last car (let’s call it Fred) had a broken gas gauge. I never really knew how much fuel was in Fred at any given time because it always read Empty.  I had to do the math for about how many miles per tank I could get and then constantly reset my odometer every time I filled the tank.  

Sometimes my math was wrong.

Fred had an added bonus of losing its charge every once in a while and occasionally overheating.  On any extended trip, you’d find me in a state of constant haggardness, flicking my eyes from my temperature gauge to my odometer and back again.  I would refuse to stop anywhere to use the restroom or eat because I wasn’t sure if the car battery would suddenly die.

It was a stressful period in my life.

I would almost rather endure all those problems combined to the problem I had to the car prior to that one. Let’s call it Bess.  One of the beauties of old car issues and their owners is that in order to keep the car moving through space, only the owner can be in operation of it.  The slowly fading bells and whistles are too much for a newb to manage.  But unless you actually ride in the car with the owner, it’s unlikely you’ll ever suspect the car has problems.

But Bess had noticeable problems.

A glaring white quarter panel (installed to replace the original one I ruined in my wreck), a couple dings, a water-stained roof, a “not-so-automatic” window, a broken handle cover, an unrecognized CD player, a cherry-stained backseat, a lack of air conditioning, rust that was spreading like cancer, and a gas tank I believed to be leaking topped off the list of amenities on this crap trophy.  And then it lost its power steering.  And started squealing like a naked newborn piglet every time I turned the steering wheel to the right.

I can’t remember a time when I ever had a car that didn’t have some sort of magic password of physical obstacles to overcome in order to drive it.  Even when I was young I remember pinning up the fabric on the ceiling of the family car with little push pins because the fabric glue that once held it up had become old and stick-less, and I’m not sure I’ve ever even known someone who owned a car with a working air conditioner.

And so it looks like our car is slowly stacking up its list of old age peculiarities.  The CD player doesn’t read discs unless you put them in a few times in a row with a small turn of the disc at a different angle until you trick the player into not spitting it back out.  There is a peculiar thudding that develops occasionally upon braking, and an interesting squeak developing during hard turns.   The driver’s seat doesn’t quite pull up as far as the passenger’s, so we can only let people into the back from the passenger’s side.  Oh, and of course there’s the door trick with the mysterious nub of metal that started this whole post.

We will eventually have to part ways with Old Faithful, and venture out into a used car lot to find our next glorious bucket of peculiarities.  

Or maybe we’ll just use bikes. 

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