Monday, March 1, 2010

My trusty steed

Recently I noted on Facebook (my new obsession) that I had just filled up my car's gas tank for only the 2nd time this year. I was quite proud that I'm trying to contribute as little as possible to the profit of the oil companies. Of course, unlike most people in this country, I have the option of NOT driving to work, so that makes it lots easier for me. (Perhaps I shouldn't be too proud!)

I have a funny relationship with my car. Even though I like not having to use it much, I also love being able to use it when I need to. From the time I was a teenager, feeling absolutely STUCK in the suburbs, at various points in my life a car has meant freedom to me. So in that way I'm pretty typically American. But I also have found it really difficult to spend real money on a car.

My first car was a used 1982 Ford Escort, which I nicknamed my little burro. When I lived in the city (D.C.), I left it at home and used Metro to get to work, but it got me to my horseback riding lessons quite nicely. It got me and my brother all the way across the country in the summer of 1990 without much trouble (a broken hose somewhere along the way, but that was it). After living in San Francisco for about a year and finding that--thanks to excellent public transportation--the only time I drove it was to move it for street cleaning, I decided to sell it. It scared me at first to be without a car, but I realized that if I really needed one, I could rent one. It ended up being a good decision.

Fast forward a few years to Atlanta, a city in which you definitely need a car. We had one, but after Dexter came along and Patrick had a full-time Monday through Friday job, we needed a second car. I looked into taking Dexter to daycare on the bus and then going from there to school, but it turned out that the 3-mile trip, with transfers, would take about an hour and a half. Crazy, right? So we bought a 1991 Honda that a friend of a friend was selling.

And that's the car I'm still driving! Here it is:

Every year, I think maybe I'll get one more year out of this car before it's time to donate it... I used to think about selling it to a student, but they drive MUCH nicer (and newer) cars than this one! Its various plastic parts are starting to break (the most recent was a door lock); it's got a mysterious problem with the dashboard fuses that will take too much money to investigate and fix. And I'm afraid the rusty bits are growing (as you can see in the photo). It's practically a rezmobile. But it's a likely little machine, it gets me where I'm going, and it's a Honda, so it's hearty.

Some days, I'm a little bit like Philbert when he decides to buy a "pony" from the junk yard... (Go here and have a look-see. :) ) My car's dings and booboos endear it to me, somehow. Maybe it's a metaphor for how I'm trying to appreciate my own aging self...

May you enjoy some mobility today!

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