So. Once upon a time, I had a new car. That was ten years ago. Now I have an old car, but it only has 80,000 miles on it. I lived really close to work for a big chunk of the time I owned the car, and not that far even now. Anyway, the car….a bitchin’ Camaro…still looks cool, despite its hail dings and the place on the one bumper where I kinda scraped a wall in the parking garage because I was late.
However, in the last year, my ride has needed many repairs. First, the jacked-up driver’s side window. It had issues for a while, but mostly it would roll up and down, so I got over it. It stopped working. When it was rolled down and there was a storm rolling in. That, plus the oil change, was $340. Three months later, I was driving back from Target and the car just died. I managed to roll it into a parking lot. That turned out to be a $1400 fuel pump. (I guess you have to disassemble the engine to get to the fuel pump.) At some point this fall, it started leaking oil. Another trip to the mechanic. This one was some little gizmo that fortunately only cost $216. La la la, long about early December, the check engine light comes on. Being that I’ve already topped $2000 in car repairs for the year, I hit up my old pal Google. Google says it’s probably just imagining things, and maybe I should top off the transmission fluid and use some of that fuel treatment shit and oh, perhaps quit with the cheap, ethanol-laced gas you put in it all the time. I do these things. The light goes off. Score! $15 plus an extra $5 for gas.
In the meantime, the car occasionally overheats, so it gets a quarterly jug of pre-mixed engine coolant. I figure, if it only does this every 3 or 4 months, and the car is otherwise fine, I’m not going to go confirm that it’s something expensive.
So. Today. After a morning in which I hit the snooze one too many times, pinch my finger trying to get my pants off the hanger, and drop a brand-new bar of soap square on my toe, I’m driving along the highway, bemoaning the fact that there is a highway patrol car in front of me so I can’t go faster, and listening to something that may or may not have been Wham!, when I notice the temperature gauge creeping up again. Also, the stupid check engine light came on again last week, and it’s been running badly…rough idle, lack of acceleration at odd moments, blah blah blah I HATE CARS.
At lunch, I have my friend/co-worker follow me to the mechanic. As I am eating my slightly cold tater tots and marveling at the fact that Sonic’s gravy just doesn’t taste right when its temperature drops from “molten lava” to “room temperature,” the mechanic calls. I can tell right away that the news is bad. He makes some noise about spark plugs and tune up packages and air filters, which is not entirely unexpected. But then, he utters a sentence with the word “gasket.” Previous experiences have taught me that you never want to hear a mechanic say that word, ever. He utters a number and I make a noise that may or may not have included the words “fuck” and “goddammit” and “shit.” Note to self: always do this in the future, because the number went down by about $200 when I did. I also clarified that if I do, in fact, fix the car, I will not be back in three months paying him another $1731 for something else. He promised that I would not. I have little faith in this, as mechanics are almost as truthful as lawyers. However, I do not feel like buying a new car right this minute, so I will pretend that this statement is accurate.
Conveniently, I got a belated Christmas bonus last week at work. The amount of the check and the bill from the mechanic are very, very close to one another. The universe does not want me to get ahead financially.
Either that, or I am being tested to be sure that I will fully appreciate it when I win the Powerball tomorrow night.
Song of the Day: “Ode to My Car” – Adam Sandler
Today’s Time Waster: Preparing for the inevitable.
What I’m Craving: Toss up between more snacky cakes and perfect credit.