3.09.2007

Nothing says SEXY like duct tape on an antenna

Our mechanic screwed us over a month ago when the P.O.S. started hemorrhaging oil and he charged us several hundred dollars to… look under the hood quizzically? Keep the car parked in his lot for a few days? Use the vehicle as an example of People Who Are Too Cheap to Know When It is Time to Buy a New Car? Whatever he charged us for, it certainly wasn’t to FIX THE LEAK as the oil? Still gushing two weeks later.

We brought the car back to the (damn) mechanic and, under Monk’s orders, I did not go in and start raving like a mad woman and foaming at the mouth and putting a hex on the mechanic, his family, and any future children he might spawn. I did not, in fact, say much at all, except to make it clear that the car? STILL leaking. Not leaking again. Still. And lo, because we are who we are, we did not catch a break. People! He was going to charge us! More! To fix it again! A re-fix! And therefore a re-charge! Instead of bending over (again), we took the car back home, applied a bandaid method to slow the leak for a few weeks, and decided it was time to go car shopping.

This is where I laugh hysterically because: Time, which we do not have. And Car shopping, which, ack and gag, and what-is-this-thing-called-a-car-payment?

(And please don’t get me started on how Monk really needs to work on his Assertiveness With People Who Are Trying to Screw Us. Please. Don’t get me started.)

(But seriously, next time I will not be clenching my teeth and biting my tongue. No, next time I will be screaming give me the goddamn phone and I will deal with that piece of crap bastard crook mechanic! Or something like that.)

It should be mentioned that technically? The P.O.S. is more Monk’s car than mine. My car is an old Isuzu Rodeo which, while not much sexier, has plenty of cargo room and sports a manual transmission, a 12-disc changer and a great sound system. I bought the car when we lived in Chicago and it has been through a lot with us. When we moved out here and I landed a job on the other side of the world that involved commuting during peak rush hours, it made more sense for me to drive the P.O.S. with its better gas mileage and (as we later found out) superb ability to survive a few rear end collisions. So I graciously (and metaphorically because hello, we had two sets) handed the Rodeo keys over to Monk and wished him well. I didn’t mean it (“don’t break my car! Have some respect! What is that empty Gatorade bottle doing in here?!”), but I was trying to Be an Adult.

But my god, I hated driving the P.O.S. For two and a half years I’d dive into the lowland of its burgundy interior and curse the contortions being forced on my spine. I’d floor the gas in an effort to merge with the other Dallas Road Crazies, only to have it lag mid-acceleration and cause me to think so this is how I’m going to die. I’d try to turn the volume up for a particularly interesting story on NPR (no CD player in the P.O.S. of course) and hate hate HATE the static and ineffectiveness of the completely shot “sound system.” And yadda yadda, on and on, and it’s white and rusty on the outside and embarrassing and just, ick.

After the mechanic nightmare, I took the Rodeo (MY car, remember?) back from Monk who has been commuting with it (and going to band practice with it, and cutting people off on the highway with it, and hauling Skyhawk’s bike around in it…) for the last two and a half years. I replaced a few of his CDs with mine, programmed the radio and started to fill up a brand new trash bag. And the last two weeks of driving have been pretty great. It’s amazing how much better (and shorter) a commute can seem, when you have a choice of music and can see ahead in traffic to find out why, for the love of Pete, is everyone hitting the brakes?!

But I have to admit, our time in Dallas seems to have been a bit rough on the Rodeo. There’s a hole worn clear through to the floor right about where Monk’s heel must have been resting for the last two and a half years. Some of the interior plastic has popped off and not been re-attached. The back window in the hatch won’t stay open on its own. I removed a skate sticker from the back the other day, and the rear seat is always folded down, and let’s not even talk about the big dent in the front of the car that is too expensive to repair (okay, that happened in New Mexico but I was not the one who drove into a little old lady who was apparently confused by the color yellow).

It’s nice, but it just doesn’t feel like My Car anymore. And as sad as that makes me, I have to admit I was a little excited when Monk and I managed to squeeze in Round 1 of car shopping last night and I was faced with back hatches that worked, shiny new cargo spaces, and better gas mileage. Round 2 takes place tomorrow, after my 8-hour chair massage gig. If all goes well, by Round 3 (because we’re attempting to be semi-responsible and take our time) (although last night I may have almost hugged a Jeep Wrangler and begged Monk to let me take it home, despite it being out of our price range with no room for my massage equipment) we may be able to bid farewell to the P.O.S., secure a car payment that doesn’t break the bank, and then I can wish Monk and the Rodeo a very happy life together. And mean it this time. Mostly.

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