Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Car Chronicles (A re-post)

Hey Folks-

These 2 posts comprise my experience of buying a new car last November. Enjoy.


Original Subject: My Car is _____
Original Posting Date: 11/3/2007
Original Posting Site: Xanga and MySpace

My Car is _________
If you said any of the following, you'd be correct:

A constant disappointment
A cesspool (apparently)
A bitch
An embarassment
Slower than a snail in January (assuming the snail has not actually frozen to death)
Expensive (to maintain)
Slowly killing Dan.
Mocking me.
Dan's least favorite reminder of his extremely awesome grandfather.
On thin fucking ice

There are more.

So car has been in the shop twice now in the past week. Once by the hand of Jiffy Lube, who decided to start poking at the hoses with a sharp stick or something. I guess because they were tired of scraping the scabs off of their arms with the straight razors. Yes..that happened.

And now once, by it's own hand (apparently). My car has simply decided it no longer wants to live, so it's going to just start spitting out parts until I relent and assume a car payment again. I guess it noticed it had 100,000 miles on it, and felt that was enough.

I would like nothing more than to take pity on old Simon the Silver, but I kinda like having money. I guess since I'll no longer be spending money on food coming up, that I'll have some extra cash., and that I should just suck it up.

Original Subject: R.I.P. Simon the Silver
Original Posting Date: 11/7/2007
Original Posting Site: MySpace

Ladies and Gentlemen, this entry is a final ode to my car. It's long and rambling and not that poetic, but it needs to be said.

The Story of Simon the Silver.

I take you back to Thanksgiving of '01. I was feeling...overextended, and as a result...kinda queasy. I'd been at a fancy dress-up dinner at a country club where my aunt decided to add President Bush to the pre-dinner grace. It was like the most clinical Thanksgiving I'd ever had. I left early to shower and change clothes before going over to Bridget's family's gathering in Kentucky. (Was that a double possessive?)

When I get to my Dad's; he, Dee Anne, and my grandpa are just finishing their meal and are chatting. I change and shower and get ready to go and I stop to say hello to grandpa (who'd at this point had a few glasses of wine). My grandpa and I had a good relationship, and in some ways I think I was the only person he ever was able to talk to after my grandma died. (Yeah, I AM a narcisist. Why do you ask?) Anyway, he always asked me about my cars, because I sort of notoriously had owned a couple of shitty ones. I now will recount as best as I can the full conversation (almost exactly 6 years later):

"'s your car doing?"

"It's fine. Wanna buy me a new one" (I said fully in jest)

"How much do you need?"

"How much what?"

"How much money would you need to buy a new car?"

"I don't think I understand the question."

"How much money does a new car cost?"

"I dunno...Dee Anne, how much did you just buy your car for?" (She'd just bought an abomination of a bright yellow Ford Focus)

"It was around fifteen thousand" (Said Dee Anne)

At this point, my grandfather asked me to go get his coat. I did, and he pulled out his checkbook and wrote me a check for that exact amount. I honest to God had no idea what to say. I think I actually threw up. My dad told me not to do anything with it. He said we needed to wait until Grandpa was sober before we asked him if he was serious. Turns out he was.

So...the next week I skipped a day of school (I was a senior in college), and my Dad and I went to a few car dealers. We checked out some of the lower end new cars, and I settled on a brand-spanking-new Silver Dodge Neon.

I named him Simon the Silver. Cousin of Simon the Gold (my 1990 Mercury Sable). Nephew of Simon the Red (1988 Sable and first car).

In the next 6 years, I drove the hell out of him. I drove him to Chicago twice. To Nashville. To Cooperstown. To Cleveland and Bloomington and Indianapolis. I drove him for the following shows:
Twelfth Night, The Civil War, Rocky Horror Show, Richard II, Blue Jacket, Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, Comic Potential, Godspell, H2SIB, Barefoot in the Park, The Bible Abridged. Ragtime, 1940's Radio Hour, Children of Eden, Of Mice and Men, 42nd Street, Proof, Complete Works, and Seussical. (I feel like I'm missing one or two).

I was driving him when I realized I was in love. I was driving him when I found out my grandpa died. I drove my cousin to my other grandpa's funeral. I drove him on my first dates with several girls. I drove him to my first and last days at all of my post college jobs. Teaching. Support Central. Time Warner. DAE. I drove Pippin home for the first time. And Disney (the cat). I drove him to my first apartment. To the first home that I bought.

In short. Simon the Silver saw my last 6 years first hand, and he rarely let me down.

The last few months were hard for Simon. He didn't like living in Covedale and working in Erlanger. A big hill each way. He hated Warsaw and hated the cut in the hill more. Never was his power (or lack thereof) so evident as in the last few months when more and more I'd curse his hesitancy and shyness. I'd get angry at his greedy gas guzzling. I said some pretty nasty things to old Simon. Still, the poor guy powered through and hit 100,000 miles a few weeks ago. He had heart.

This brings us to last Wednesday. A week ago. I had a couple of hours before an appointment, so I took Simon to Jiffy Lube for an oil change and a new headlight. No biggie. I even authorized a radiator flush, which turned out to be the fateful decision. They broke the radiator, and over the next 4 days Simon decided he'd had enough. He'd rally, then he'd fail.

On Sunday, I knew. I went to pick him up, and his wipers wouldn't stop. He passed out when I turned on his headlights. He'd rev up all the way, but not go into drive. It was the final gasps of a dying car. I decided then that it was time to let him go. To pull the plug. I called my dad. I told him. I canceled my trip to Denver. I made arrangements.

Today was the day. (Tuesday). I drove Simon the Silver for the last time, as we took a trip to 32 Ford in Batavia. I sang along to Once on this Island. I didn't think about the end.

As I was driving my new (to me) car options, my mind would occasionally shift back to Simon. He was small, but he was comfortable. More comfortable that the Grand Prix that I drove. Probably more comfortable than the Taurus. I knew that car with my eyes closed. Sure...he leaked. He shook over 60 mph. He blew tires like a hooker blows truckers. But he got me where I needed to go.

Anyway, as I took the small box of personal items out of him and removed the antenna topper, I realized I may never see him again. I stopped and patted him on his roof and said goodbye. And I thanked him. I know that's really weird. In fact, looking at the words now, I question whether I should tell people I thanked a weak, broken car. An inanimate object. Well, I did thank him. And I meant it.

I sincerely hope that my new car, a 2001 Honda Accord (4 doors, manual transmission) will serve me as well. It's faster and cleaner and nicer. I hope he has as much heart.

Now I just need a name. Any thoughts?

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