Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Man, I Really Go On Sometimes

Last night, around 2 a.m., I dropped my Honda off at the dealership for the scheduled maintenance. I do this so they'll work on it first thing in the morning and call me by noon to tell me it's ready and I can get on with my life. Except that blew up in my face this time. Turns out the Mr. has something work-related to do and I'm stranded at home. He offered me his car, but it's probably better that I be stuck here and actually get something done for once. Which, of course, is why I'm sitting here blogging instead of cleaning the bathrooms.

So, I dropped off my car. Whenever I do that, I feel a twinge of guilt as I remember that I never treated my previous car as well. It was a now defunct Geo Metro Lsi. Yes, those cars you see on the road and snicker at as you watch them attempt to accelerate. I had no choice to get it, though. The Subaru stationwagon I had couldn't pass the rigid California smog check without a $1,000 fix, which was more than the car was worth. Dad then suggested it was time I get a new car. He gamely listened as I threw out dream car options. A VW Jetta! A Miata, maybe? Hey, maybe a scooter! Bless his heart, he took me to a VW dealership and let me have the rude awakening on my own: I could not afford those things on the crap salary I was pulling. As we left the dealership and I was feeling a little sad, he told me he didn't think VWs were well-made, anyway. Yeah, screw 'em!

After scaling back a little, my only option pretty much was the Geo, the Geo and the Geo. OK, the Geo it is, then! Commence years of merciless mocking. My boss at the time called it "the Roller Skate car." My grandfather called it "that piece of crap." Whenever he talked to my dad on the phone, he'd ask, "Hey, is she still driving that piece of crap?" "I'm afraid she is, dad." "Oh, that stupid car. She's going to kill herself!" Other cars would zoom by me on the freeway. Some would tailgate and bully me, challenging my car's right to even exist. Hey, I questioned it, too.

I lost interest in the Geo after about a year. I took it in for oil changes once a year, at most. And when you think about the fact that I was driving 90 minutes to work (one way) four days a week at the time, that's a massive amount of abuse. How it didn't just decide to die and leave me stranded one day, I'll never know. I put 30,000 miles on the car in the first year alone. The A/C broke about 2 years in, and I never fixed it. While moving from one state to another, I had it on a trailer behind my U-Haul, and somehow managed to take out my great uncle's mailbox with it. It left a giant dent in the passenger side door, which wasn't a big deal because nobody ever wanted to ride in that car with me, and who could blame them?

The only time it had a tuneup was when I announced to my family that I was leaving California and moving to the East Coast, and yeah, I was driving that piece of crap over there. Mom refused to let me leave without having it looked at.

I put whatever could fit in the Geo (not much) and left. Outside Fresno -- barely 3 hours into my trip -- the driver's side windshield wiper blew off in a torrential downpour, and I spent about 2 hours leaning to the right as I drove so I could see. The bare wiper left a permanent scratch in the glass. Despite the bad omen, the rest of the trip went smoothly. I even bought a replacement wiper in San Bernardino, but it didn't rain the rest of the trip. Figures.

One day, when it was about 6 years old, the Geo died. The fan belt snapped. There was some manufacturing defect that was causing it to slice over time. That's when I went to the Honda dealership and decided to get a real car, one that'll put up a fight on the road. One that makes a quick getaway after one extends the finger. These things are important!

The salesman inspected the Geo for trade-in value, and informed me that I'd almost have to pay him to take the car. Before I whipped out the checkbook, he agreed to give me $200 credit for it. Believe me, I thought that was generous. As I drove my new car off the lot, I saw the Geo parked there, looking all sad and abandoned and I felt a little bad. It did get me across the country in one piece. And parallel parking was going to be harder. That clown car could fit anywhere.

A few months later, I was leaving work one night when I saw a car parked outside the pizza place across the street: the Geo. My Geo. It had been reincarnated as a pizza delivery car. I was like, "Right...good luck with that, guys."