Me and cars don’t often get along. That isn’t to say that I don’t like cars. I like them just fine, usually when they’re being driven and taken care of by other people. Cars are good, cars take me where I need to go in a timely fashion and generally don’t do things like randomly blow up, attract feral cats or mysteriously catch fire in the middle of the night. Those are usually my priorities from an object that I need to use on a daily basis. It’s just when it comes down to me, personally caring for and driving cars, that there are usually problems. A lot of problems. A ton of problems.
Starting with, my Audi had no heat, and no defroster. They just mysteriously ceased to function about a few weeks after I had bought it, so driving home in the winter from twenty five miles away after an ice storm was an absolute gas. Also, rainy days were bad, unseasonably humid days, foggy days, snowy days, frosty days, hot days, cold days, and any kind of weather that might require the use of air conditioning or heat was generally a bad day to be out on the road. So this meant I couldn’t drive for about 99% of the year, save for the early days of fall, and the late days in spring. This would not do, so I drove despite not being able to see, feel my fingers and toes, expel body heat, breathe, or otherwise function as a normal human being in a car at any given time. And then it started to shoot smoke out of the heaters at random periods of time. For no reason. So I fixed that problem by opening the windows. In the middle of January. In Upstate New York. With no heat in my car. It would do this off and on, just to make sure I was on my toes and never too complacent about driving even to the mini-mart a mile away from me. At any point in time, my car could gas me to death, cease to function, fog up, or lose another car part. Like the bumper.
The Audi used to have a front bumper, once, a long time ago. However after continuing to misjudge the distance between my bumper and say, a parking barrier, a curb or parking stops, my bumper decided that it had taken enough abuse from its careless owner, and fully seceded from the front of my car. On the highway. At eighty miles an hour. I was alerted to this fact because my car made a loud grinding sound that was not indicative of a healthy car, and I had to pull over and see what the hell was going on. The bumper was in front of my front tires, still clinging stubbornly to the front of my car in a manner that made it impossible to just wrench off the offending object. I tucked it back behind the wheel and got on the road again. And thus I continued to stop every mile or so to tuck it back into place and swear and yell and kick things angrily, because violence solves everything, until I finally gave up and just let the damn bumper grind off the car and fall onto the wayside of the road. Stupid bumper, didn’t need that anyway. Except I felt bad when I got home and thought of my bumper sitting on the side of the road, another bit of gross debris that someone was going to have to pick up later. So the next day I went out to go pick up my bumper to properly dispose of it.
By this time, my father had enough time to actually pass by my bumper on the way to work one day. I had told him that my bumper had fallen off the car, but not my mother, because if I told my mother, she’d say something like “Oh God, Noelle” in that tone of voice that makes it sound like I shanked a Mall Santa while he was on his way to take care of underprivileged children with severe physical and mental handicaps. My father, however, thought it was the funniest thing in the universe, and openly laughed at me on his way to work. Well I’m glad I could make his day more entertaining.
My car continued to be a frozen, bitter, ancient thing that was held together with bubblegum, hope and the prayers of family members. One day, none of this did me any good, and my car conked out on the highway while I was on my way to work. It decided to cease to function at about 2 AM and I learned an important thing about humanity when that happened. No one cares about you at two in the morning. You could be a blind, fingerless flipper person with scoliosis and backwards knees, wandering alone and frightened on the highway at night, and no one would even slow down to jogging speed to at least make sure you’re not dying. I like to pretend that I cut a menacing figure, in my Edwardian frock coat with my tiny chihuahua next to me on his neon pink leash. I know I must have looked intimidating, standing next to my useless car and weeping openly, shivering in the cold winter air. I tried pushing it to the next exit, because there is something seriously wrong with me, and I gave up when I realized that even if I got it onto the exit, it wouldn’t matter because then I’d just be at the exit with a car that didn’t work and that it didn’t put me in any better a position than I was the hour it took me to push it all the way to the exit.
So I walked. And I walked some more. And I walked some more. And then I got to the exit, and to an area with a few houses. And at three o’clock in the morning, I started knocking on doors, hoping against hope that someone would please answer the door and let me use their phone just for a few minutes so I could call someone and let them know I was stranded. It took about three houses, but I finally managed it, called everyone I knew until someone answered their phone, and managed to get a ride to work at about 4 am, one hour after I was supposed to be there. And that was how I was late to work for the first time in my life.
Of course, about a year after this I rolled this car right over into a muddy frozen creek and had to crawl out of the passengers side door at about twelve o’clock midnight, but that story has already been told. If you haven’t managed to read that particular tale yet, it was actually a lot less interesting than it actually sounds, except for the part where I almost died.
But that was the end of that car, and that cars problems, which were many and often and it was probably for the best that it is no longer in service because I have no idea how long it would have been legal to keep that thing on the road. I’m in a new car now, with entirely new car problems, but I thank God everyday that it has heat and working windows and a door that doesn’t lock up on me and doesn’t spew noxious smoke into my face at random intervals during the car experience. So that’s a bonus. It does entirely different things now for me to worry and complain about, but at the very least it still goes in a straight line, unlike the old car, and it doesn’t attract policemen like a fat girl to a drunk dude, so it’s ace in my books.
Hey maybe one day I’ll even get a car that wasn’t from fifty bajillion years ago and wasn’t pooped on by a dinosaur, wouldn’t that be novel?