My car and I have a special relationship.
At least we did. Until about the 21st of December.
My car has had his share of insults. Everything from other cars bumping into him to snide remarks about how he’s not going to get me from Point A to Point B, especially if Point B is further than across town.
But I believe in him.
There was the time the basketball coach from the local college (in Minnesota) drove into my car while he (my car) was parked on the side of the road. (Yes, this really happened. And yes, said coach’s insurance paid LOTS of money to repair the damage.)
And then there was the time two years later when my car was parked in the exact same spot (you’d think I would have learned….) and somebody hit the same part of the car as the coach did. And then they had the audacity to leave. Without telling me or anybody else what had happened.
(No. It wasn’t a narrow road. It just happened to be the road from the bars to the college.)
Someone once told me they didn’t think my car would last much longer. This was after the coach (and the other guy) hit it, but before the car made the acquaintance of the hay bale near Webster SD. And it was right after I made the last loan payment. I said I bet he would last me 5 more years.
It’s been 4 years and 11 months.
This particular car seems to work a lot like a Hollywood-ized romance.
Whenever somebody would say anything negative about the car, I would come to his defense. Or if anything went wrong, I would pray. And anoint him with oil — about a quart, every time I drove more than 300 miles at high speed. After I figured out that oil was important (and I should like…. check it…. sometimes), he and I got along very, very well. We were equally faithful to one another.
I admit sometimes I was a little late on oil changes and sometimes the tires may have been a little low (and I never gave him a bath), but he knew my heart was in the right place. And he was faithful. Especially when I prayed for him. (And anointed him with a quart of oil.)
Since I got my faithful little car almost 12 years ago, aside from oil changes, the only maintenance I’ve had to do was two new sets of tires and two new batteries.
Until two weeks ago.
It all started several weeks ago when I saw an ad for a used car that someone just wanted to get rid of. I looked on it with lust. It was being sold for roughly 2/3 of it’s value. It was newer. Aesthetically, it had a lot more going for it than my little buddy (who acquired several scratches and paint chips and a rather awkward-looking gash on the side while making the acquaintance of the hay bale in Webster), so I was intrigued.
My lustful thoughts must have hurt my car’s feelings. Because several weeks later, after taking him in for an oil change, the guy who delivered the car back to me asked if I was aware that the heat didn’t work.
I knew it took a little longer to heat than most cars, but it did heat.
I defended my car vociferously.
But the damage to his fragile ego had already been done.
The heater had given up the ghost, which I discovered on a very cold evening while driving to a town nearby to visit a friend. I was reminded again the next day when I went back to said town on a whim, to visit said friend, teeth chattering the whole way.
Oh, why did I not have the common sense to bring a blanket?
I realized later that I had at least 3 blankets in my car the whole time.
Oh, why did I not have the common sense to use said blankets??
I drove around without heat for a week before the mechanic had a chance to fix it. And $357 later, he was as good as new. The trip to the aforementioned “nearby town” that night was as cozy as if I’d been sitting in front of a fire, wrapped in a snuggie and drinking a big ol’ mug of cocoa.
We spent the next 8 days in comparative bliss. Even on the coldest of days, my car produced enough heat to (perhaps) warm a can of soup. Or at least, enough heat to thaw my fingers and toes, provided that my trip lasted longer than 15 minutes. Which, none of them do. (My owner’s manual says you only have to let the car run for 10 seconds before driving, even on the coldest days. I’m a rule follower. And with the price of gas these days, and the woeful state of my hourly wage, warming one’s car up is something for people of a significantly higher tax bracket and social status than I am. Even when it’s -20*F outside.)
A few days ago, the weather took a turn for the worse. We’re talking literal -20* with wind chills in the -40s. Long johns and three pairs of socks don’t cut the mustard. Exposed skin freezes instantly. And skin that is covered with only a couple of layers freezes within minutes. My fingers and toes (and nose) have been protesting obstreperously.
My car’s protest has been decidedly less obstreperous than that of my fingers and toes. Less obstreperous to the point of sluggishness. I turn the key, it makes a small effort, putt-putts for as long as I keep trying to start it and it dies as soon as I let go of the key.
Run little car. Run. Please?
I’ve checked all the fluids. The battery is working like a boss. I’ve given a dose of generic Heet (because I couldn’t find the real thing) and…. nothing. I don’t know what else to do.