Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ahh The Car

Whoever said that posessions clutter your life clearly owned a car. This past weekend, Laura and I went up to Boston to get the car, the plates the registration and of course THE CAR. When we had enough stuff to legally climb into the car and drive it on the roads, we caravaned straight to Laura's mechanic to get the thing inspected, a maiden voyage of about 6 miles. About halfway there something went terribly wrong, the car overheated and by the time we got it to the station, three of the guys there had to push it onto the curb. I called the guy who I bought the thing from and he basically castigated me for not having checked the oil, water and gas guages before driving the car. In the interest of keeping diplomatic ties to the man, who I had at first taken as an honest and nice guy from Iowa, I didn't say that I would hope the fucking thing could have gone 6 miles to a mechanic without farting out on me. For the next 18 hours, Laura and I waited for the news going over different scenarios and trying to take comfort in Massachusettes' Lemon Law. The next day Laura's mechanic, Larry called and said that the car had a busted hose and that it passed inspection. Grand total $85. He also told us that the car was very old and that we shouldn't put any more money into it.

Duly shaken, we headed from Boston to New York, not sure what would happen. About 80 miles out of New York, we stopped at a gas station and filled up the tank. Laura notised that the front of the car was leaking fluid in a little stream about half the width of a pencil. With 80 miles more to go, visions of complete doom and Laura getting more dismayed by the second, I put on my calm and calming face and snagged the owners manual. Under the "common problems" section I found what I was looking for, bought some water and some radiator fixer and fixed the leak in the radiator. I was fucking amazed. In a fit of magical thinking I actually addressed the car as we were driving it and told the car that we just wanted 10,000 problem free miles and then we would retire it or sell it off to someone who can do a better job than us and maintaining it.

Laura and I still don't trust the car as far as we can throw it. It's got all kinds of strange idiosyncrasies that we're in the process of discovering. I had a slight panic attack today when I thought that I had parked it on the wrong side of the street on the wrong day and that I would have to pay a $100 fine and spend a week picking a bright green sticker off the window. For all the crap that having a car entails though, I still caught myself a few times getting the same feeling I got when I first got my license and inhereted my father's '87 Chevy. The promise of effortless transport.


Sam Tresler said...

Oi vey, Frank. Good luck. I've been thinking about, and when the time comes for me, I want a boat, not a car.

Sam Tresler said...

Oh and for future purposes, there's nothing wrong with asking to take the car for inspection before you buy it.

matt said...

you see I completely envisioned you unscrewing the radiator cap while the car was still hot. thats a bad idea.

TeddyFrank said...

Ahhh Matt,
I made that mistake in high school. It's the harsh lessons that stay with you. I waited till it was cool and then used a rag to open it.

Also, Sam you have an excellent point. We were in a bind and the thing didn't have plates, stickers or insurance when we bought it. There are pretty strict laws in Mass about even looking at a car if it doesn't have any of those things and we were pressed for time. Luckily, there are pretty stringent laws in the Commonwealth about selling lemons. Next time, I too would like to buy a boat, preferably a canoe, something that either floats or doesn't.

Josh said...


I feel your pain. I may need to go down this road myself some day soon, and it's not a pretty line of thought.

I find myself wanting to start some kind of car-collective. Like zipcars, but with my social network. I also find myself wanting to organize all my friends to start buying property.

See what happens when you get your head out of NYC? Nothing good. ;)