I have a “good” car now….although people never believe me when I tell them I can’t remember what kind it is..(tf)

Stevens is fussing about his dastardly truck again. That thing spends more time jacked-up above the ground than it does with its wheels on the road. He could just write the thing off and get a new one, but then again he could get a new sport coat to replace the corduroy job with the patches on the elbows too. The man is old school, and needs to be slapped in the face with a wet fish before admitting that time would ever get the better of him.

So, he continues to careen around the back-roads of PA in a pick-up that looks like it came out of a Dukes of Hazzard casting call….apparently content to shell out significant chunks of his small fortune to keep the thing from failing inspection and thus ending up being visible from route 81, rusting in the sun on one of Uncle Louie’s junk-yard mountains. I’ve seen this truck and I swear it rattles more than a consumptive old man and is held together with massive amounts of duct-tape and gorilla glue. The thing is a modern marvel. A perfect metaphor for the man who drives it. A man who would not only turn back every clock he could get his hands on, but collect them for a bon-fire.

But he does bring up an interesting talking point regarding guys and mechanical things. Somehow we’re supposed to know what to look for under the hood. The fact that I can barely open the hood of a car doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve stared at all that stuff in there many times, thinking that something might suddenly pop out at me….like a large wire not plugged in or something. I still don’t know the positive/negative jumper-cable thing…..and since everybody says if you get it wrong the car will explode, I just call AAA and let them do it. I once put oil where my windshield-wiper fluid was supposed to go, which should tell you all you need to know about my mechanical prowess. The only time I ever “fixed” a car was when a lady came to me saying hers would not start and I noticed that she had it in neutral. For the rest of the day I felt 10 feet tall.

At least back in the days before computers took over, you had some idea of what might be wrong. Funny noises or funny smells or that dreaded “click only” sound when you turned the key. Now, all you get is a “service soon” light. Hmm. How soon? You drive around thinking the car could explode at any moment. Most of the time they just need to “re-set the computer”, which is mechanic-speak for “we have no idea what’s wrong with it”. You are completely at their mercy, which of course is just the way they want it.

I always thought folks who obsessed over their cars were missing a few genes. To me a car is just a thing with wheels meant to get one from point A to point B. I don’t care what color it is or what kind of engine it has. What makes a car “good” is not breaking down. My first car was a ghastly blue thing that died every few yards. One time on a set of railroad tracks, which is bad karma for sure. It was, by any definition, a “bad” car. My next one was nicknamed “the Red Death”, although it would shake uncontrollably when it reached 50 mph so I have no idea why. If it hit anything it’d just bounce off. But still, a “good” car. What finally killed it was rust. You could actually see through the doors.

I’ve never washed a car in my life except when I was a kid being punished for coming home drunk. I don’t understand why someone would wash a car. I actually know someone who washes the underside of her hood. Maybe once a year I’ll remove the McDonald’s bags and soda cans, but why in the world would you wash the outside of your car unless you planned on doing all your subsequent driving in a bubble? It makes no sense to me at all. It’s like washing a tree.

I have a “good” car now….although people never believe me when I tell them I can’t remember what kind it is. It’s red and sorta small. Has 4 doors. Moves when I press down on one petal and stops when I press down on the other. My favorite part is the place to hold the 2 soda cans. I bring it in for “service” when they tell me to, and finally learned that “an oil change” doesn’t mean driving until the oil light comes on and then pouring a few quarts in myself. I guess there’s more too it than that but don’t ask me what. I checked the trunk and I don’t have jumper cables, which is just as well since I still don’t know the positive/negative thing. I was temped to google it and put the results in the glove compartment, but decided against it when I realized I wouldn’t know how or where to hook them up even armed with this info.

What I can do is put air in a tire. I actually know people who can’t do this, so it gives me something to feel smug about.

Along with, of course, not being stuck with a pick-up made during the Nixon administration.

–Tom Flannery

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~ by admin on January 16, 2012.

One Response to “I have a “good” car now….although people never believe me when I tell them I can’t remember what kind it is..(tf)”

  1. I’m not sure I’d admit all that……

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