Varoom, putt, putt, putt…
Janis Joplin sang about a Mercedes Benz, but she drove a psychedelic painted Porsche. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Prius reflected his belief in global warming. The Pope’s used 1984 Renault was refreshing humility in a leader.
Our cars are a reflection of us. My car spoke boulevard of broken dreams. My ancient car relied on liquid steel to keep the rust patches together.
The car had problems from the time we drove it off the lot. The check engine light refused to be turned off. The distraction was fixed with black tape. The cup holder holds a cup as long as the car was in park. As I drove down the highway, the door locks unlocked and locked as if possessed by poltergeists. The door dingers didn’t ding. My key won’t open the trunk. I relied on a button connected to the faulty electrical system to gain access to groceries.
To signal a turn, I held my signal lever up or down. Imagine manual turn signals. The dashboard light that flashed “ice possible” when the temperature reached thirty-two degrees was the constant I counted on, that and recalls.
The multiple recalls dealt with faulty ignition parts that could cause loss of power steering, the car rolling away, or catching on fire resulting in a crash. Then more faulty parts would not deploy the air bags and even more faulty parts in the fuel system could cause fuel leaks with more fire in the presence of an ignition source.
That’s the car I owned. I gave up on recalls with the “plastic” supply on the fuel pump which may crack, blah, blah, blah because I was broke. If the recalled part wasn’t the cause of the odor of gas that I smelled, I’d have to come up with serious cash to fix the problem.
My solution was to run the car with no more than a half of a tank of gas. There was less odor and would be less boom if the car caught on fire. My solution was cheaper.
Half of American drivers already owned their dream car or believed they would eventually. I belonged to the other half of Americans. We owned cars discarded by someone else. The cars were inexpensive enough for a bank to lend us money. We hedged odds that the loan had a chance of being paid before the car disintegrated or, in my case, blew up.
Americans spent 37,935 hours of their life driving a car. The last eleven years of my life have been spent in the mediocrity of a coupe DeBlandsville. I wanted a Jeep four door Wrangler.
Jeep said, “Let’s go to the wilderness and explore!” Jeep said, “I have enough money to fix expensive things when they break down!” Jeep would NEVER say, “Park next to a fire hydrant. You don’t want to catch someone else’s car on fire should I go up in flames because I smell like gas.”
If I loved my vehicle, I’d have given the car a name. Blaze was warm, but not in a fuzzy feeling way. My car was just “the car”.
Thinking “the car” might be worth more if it blew up compared to a scrap metal payout, I tempted fate. I parked next to a van with a sign that said, “Oxygen in use. Caution: no open flame.” One discarded cigarette butt was all it would have taken for “the car” to end in glory. Hey, as long as no one was hurt, right?
I took my Ed Sheeran, Goo Dolls, and Greatest Showman soundtrack with me. I’d have been highly upset to see those CD’s melted in a vehicular inferno. When I returned, “the car” was still intact. I know I should be happy “the car” gets me places.
Lord, I’m not asking for a Mercedes Benz, but what about a vehicle resembling a four door Jeep Wrangler that doesn’t cost as much as a house? Could you give the vehicle the environmental concern of a Prius, a cup holder that holds cups, and no fear of a crash, fire, and mayhem? Make it a priority. Blaze doesn’t stand a chance at passing inspection.