Car-tastrophe strikes

Note: I had not intended for this blog to be a complain train/all about me but I figured that this is my blog, so I can say whatever the hell I want! Maybe you’ll at least think this is sort of funny. Or sad-funny. Or pathetic-funny. It’s okay. I understand.

Also you should probably not read this post if you’re afraid of spiders.

I have a love-hate relationship with my car.

My Civic and I have been through a lot together. My mom got the used car for me when I was in high school so that I could get home from all my after-school activities. My sophomore year of college I took it to Ohio with me, and my Civic and I had a grand old time driving around my carless friends.

full-carIt doesn’t fit a lot of stuff inside, and I have a hard time parking it (less because of the car and more because of my longtime grudge with parallel parking), but I love my car because it’s my car. It’s the only car I’ve ever driven. It’s been getting me from point A to point B since I was 16. It’s sort of like my baby, if it was socially acceptable to let your baby get really dusty inside and to apologize for it being a mess every time your friends see it.

When I went to France for a semester it spent the whole time sitting outside unused (from January through May, mind you, seeing some of the finest weather extremes central Pennsylvania has to offer), which was decidedly Not Good because upon my return to college the battery promptly died and left me stranded in a Rite Aid parking lot, desperately brandishing jumper cables at anyone leaving who looked like they might know more than me about cars (aka: anything at all). This was but the first of many frustrations.

I’ve always had issues with my headlights staying lit, and at the end of my senior year of college (literally, the evening of graduation) they both gave out at the same time and I spent about eight months driving around with my high-beams on.

I took my car to a dealership where they replaced some pin inside the car that supposedly fixed my headlights “for good,” (liars!) then had a panic attack when they told me all the other problems they happened to notice while inside my car. After backing out of those repairs ten minutes after giving the mechanic the go-ahead (and probably looking like the world’s most indecisive car owner in the process), I went and got my inspection at a less scrupulous place where I passed with flying colors. Yay!

If it rains a drop, my hometown floods, and last summer I went through a particularly deep puddle at the end of an intersection. Entering The Puddle of Doom felt a little like the way a log flume does when it leaves the station and whooshes down into the water without any rails to keep it steady. This is not a very encouraging sensation to experience behind the wheel of a car. For the next day, my car was making this wet noise wherever I went. After a day of people giving me funny looks as I sloshed on by, I looked under the front of my car and discovered that the sheet of metal that covers the bottom of the car (sorry, I don’t know car anatomy) was dragging on the road. Oh, so that’s what that sound was!

I took it to the only mechanic that would take my car the next day and was probably creepily overjoyed when they said they’d cut the piece of metal off my car for free. So what if my car is literally falling apart? They fixed it for free! I liked that mechanic a lot except I’m a little scared to go back because I spent the entirety of my 20 minute wait for a ride to work staring at one of the biggest spiders I had ever seen, just chilling there on the floor.

spider-on-floor1

spider-on-floor2

spider-on-floor3

“Hello, ladies.”

My car’s issues have even gotten me pulled over. I’ve been pulled over three times, and two out of three were cops informing me that my headlight/tail light/combination of the two were burnt out. Thanks car! (If you’re wondering, the third time was because my registration was 10 months out of date, because even though I’ve had this car for seven years I apparently don’t understand how owning a car works. Oops. Oh well, I can blame that on my car too. Thanks car!)

Today I took my car in for another inspection, fingers crossed, but even the less-scrupulous-repair-place caught the problems the dealership found last year, so now I’ve got a $598.16 bill. (It would have been more, but they say my transmission can “probably wait a year.” Hoo boy.) Paying for problems with my car is one of the only things that makes me feel suicidal (disclaimer: not actually). It’s like I cheerfully march in there expecting a nice little predictable bill to cover my state inspection and emissions test, but then I come away with this horrifying charge for an engine air filter replacement and what the hell is a front arm bushing…? and the panic sets in. They had to keep my car overnight, like a sick puppy at the vet, so they gave me “the loaner,” this massive vehicular monstrosity that is about 547% wider than my Civic. Therefore I’m terrified to drive it.

It doesn't even fit in my parking space.

It doesn’t even fit in my parking space.

It’s sort of funny (except at the time) how feeling stressed out can make it so that your problems seem so much more pressing and important than other people’s. (“I don’t care that your work has bed bugs. I have a massive car repair to pay for and the loaner they gave me is barely automatic and THERE IS NOT A CLEAN PAIR OF SOCKS IN THIS ENTIRE APARTMENT.” *)

I guess the moral of the story here is that I need to learn to expect to get hit with these massive repairs every inspection (or just whenever) as my car ages so I don’t keep having heart attacks when I hear the bill. It doesn’t really help that I’ve gotten into this cycle of having my inspection the week before or after Christmas, which is arguably the time of year I’m poorest and also happens to be too late to tell my relatives, “jk about that blender I told you I wanted, actually I want money!”

At least I got a fun new savings goal out of this experience. One year to save up for a new transmission, alright!

(*Dramatization. **)

(**Sort of.)