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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

O, How I Tire of the Automobile

BLAT BLAT BLAT BLAT BLAT BLAT BLAT.

A Harley just smaller than my first apartment has pulled up in front of the house.

Mary and Jon, having heard my plaintive cries for help, have made a house call.

And they brought Dean with them, a wild-eyed handsome man who rides with a Miniature Pinscher named Baby Girl balanced on his gas tank…

I'm sorry. Where was I?

Oh yes. The call for help.

That’s right. My car, sometimes referred to as The Pedicure (based on its recent Flintstone-like braking system) and sometimes called the “Beeg Piece of Sheet” (according to my quaintly honest friend Maryna), is back to making ghastly metal-on-metal noises.

The back brakes? Oh, that was so last month.

This month? Why, the front brakes, of course!

This is what comes with a 20-year-old one-payment car.

Truth be told, it was a small payment. And it was three years ago.

So what’s my problem, huh? Why don’t I just get another car?

Because I hate payments.

“Ees problem, no? You’re not ashamed?” Maryna said Saturday night. “Beautiful woman in piece of sheet car. Ees not right. Mike, geev to Pearl our keys. We haff beautiful car. You take. You drive.”

I laughed her off. “If I cared about what the car looked like, then it would matter to me and I would get a new car,” I said. “But I don’t care about what it looks like. It just has to get me from Point A to Point B.”

Apparently, however, I forgot to include, in the getting-me-from-here-to-there speech, that the ability to brake properly should figure in to the equation.

And so here we are again: rotors and pads and line-bleeding and blinker fluid and such.

I really need to learn more about cars.

54 comments:

George said...

I feel the same way. Get me from Point A to Point B. My work car looks like a piece of crap. My convertible, or chick magnet, I try to keep looking a lot nicer.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Well, beautiful woman in peece of sheet car....maybe it is time to get a new vehicle. When they start costing you more to repair than it would to carry a new one....it's time.

Pearl said...

George, a convertible would be nice... :-)

Delores, so far, with Jon doing the work, the repairs are actually ok, cost-wise. But the inconvience is starting to get to me. Where's that lump sum of money I keep dreaming about?!

Joshua said...

Get a Vespa. And since you're in Minnesota, a heavy jacket, hat, gloves, boots, and thermal underwear. Or a car.

Oilfield Trash said...

I do my own brakes to save money. But I feel your pain, dealing with cars can be a cause of migraines.

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

Just hold on a few more months, then get a snowmobile. Isn't that what they do in MN? Congrats on not having a payment. You are wise, oh young one.

jabblog said...

There comes a time when you have to say goodbye to an old vehicle . . . how about a bike?

Pearl said...

Oh, Joshua, I would LOVE to! But then there's the whole, well, you can drive it for six months out of the year thing...

OT, shoot, I've seen it done so many times lately I'm starting to think maybe I should give it a try!

MMM, you know, the way the storms have been lately a snowmobile in teh city is not a bad idea. :-) (And yes, not having payments is what it's all about!)

Pearl said...

jabblog, well, I've got the bus. And I do have a bike. I can't imagine going completely car-less...

R. Jacob said...

Ouch, front breaks are more costly then the back. But they are a necessity for stopping, or so I have been told. No car payments is definitely a better way to go. For being so young, you are so wise!

Simply Suthern said...

For years I have done all the brake work for my family and close friends and maybe even for someone I didnt like. Might have had parts left over on that one. And yet I have never heard of blinker fluid. That might account for the extra charge the shops add in.

Bring'er on down. We'll jack you up.

Eva Gallant said...

Brakes do come in handy, Pearl, when you get to point B and want to stop.

lisleman said...

"Beeg Piece of Sheet" - I think you should make a jingle with that and sell it to a used car lot.
New expensive cars - not worth it because their scratches just cost more. 10+ year old car scratch = no cost. That Porsche scratch = $1000+
You know I might start a scratch index.

Pearl said...

R., we're operating on a cash-only basis over here, so hope they're not too, as we Minnesotans like to say, "spendy". :-)

Simply, and I'll sit in the shade and watch you work. :-) I'm really good at that. (So are you telling me that my blinker fluid was probably good all along?!)

Eva, I've become rather fond of stopping!

lisleman, the Scratch Index. :-) I think you're on to something!

Leenie said...

I'm keeping my car until I die and have requested it be my coffin. Savings all around. Of course my car and I could be flattened by an eighteen wheeler--thus saving money on the size of a cemetery plot.

Leauxra said...

Yeah, I did the "just save up and buy a car" thing a year and a half ago because I have a phobia of financing. Mostly because I tend to forget to make payments. This one is prettier than my last one, which I bought with a giant rusted out dent on the driver's side.

If you drive a BPoS car, other cars get the hell out of the way because they have more to lose.

karena said...

I feel your pain, Pearl...cars are just so much work to maintain. I wish they'd make them easier to fix. Less grease maybe? I too have gotten used to no car payment on my '04....and my son thinks it's time to trade it...and i say no, no, no.
Hope these repairs will be your last...but I doubt it. Like your thinking though.

Pearl said...

Leenie, now THAT's what I call thrifty!

Leauxra, it's just the smarter thing to do, if you can do it. :-)

Charlotte Ann said...

I just gave my beautiful 1990 Toyota Corolla to my granddaughter. She is only three years older then that car and it is in perfect shape......hated to give it up but got a hot little red roadster...so something had to go! I do my own brake jobs too....saved enough money to afford a new car. ALMOST....

Pearl said...

Karena, I don't know how you make them easier -- how far away do you suppose we are from disposable/temporary cars? Wait -- I think I just answered that.

Charlotte Ann, sweet! Lucky girl. And I like the thought of a roadster...

jenny_o said...

I just had the front brakes done on my not-quite four year old leased vehicle. So it's not an affliction of geriatric cars only. I can bet you won't be paying the $468 I had to shell out to the garage, though. Darn dealerships!

Or maybe they did add the elusive blinker fluid also :)

vanilla said...

From this point on, it's geeve the money to the bank, or give it to the repairman. But I do think you are on the right track.

SeaD said...

Pearl, I am right there with you. My 90 Honda Accord (Maggie) gets me where I need to be when the bus won't. This past winter an SUV slid into Maggie and smashed up the door and back panel. Insurance company declared it "totaled" even though it's just a little ripple along the driver side. I was paid $4000.00 and still get to drive Maggie with her battle scars. Get someone to hit you ... you have a start on your car fund!

Suz said...

okay okay....I'll get the chapbook
..put it toward the brakes...hee hee
and thanks for the visit

Belle said...

We used to buy old clunkers for cash and hubby fixed them, but the broke down a lot. Then we finally started buying cars with payments. The first one broke down all the time and we found out that it had been in a huge accident and they lied to us on the papers. We traded it in and this newer car seems okay, but of course it has already needed repairs. We have only had it a year. I give up. I just don't care any more. :(

aBroad said...

I grew up in North Carolina, where all the boys knew about cars.
I was so glad not to be a boy.
Last time I had a car ( in the US) all I needed to know was where was the dealership. It worked for me.
Beeg peece of sheet would be about what I would have if I bought a car here in BA. You have to pay cash, total for a car, no payments, and if they are imported ( they all are) they cost approx. double what cars cost in the Real World.
So my car is yellow and black and we call it Taxi.

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

Onomatopoeically, a Harley goes "potato potato potato..."

Cars Suck. (knocking on wood)

My 94 Mercury Tracer Trio wagon, affectionately known as the SHGN WGN, ha been good to me so far. It's virgin whiteness has become highlighted with cancer around the fenders, and it smells like feet when you turn on the heat, but I ain't complainin'. It reeks of Cool.

Cake Betch said...

This reminds me of Adam Sandler's "Piece of Shit Car." Here you go, so you don't have to google that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-34Fdtg1dI).
I wouldn't say my car is a piece of shit, but it does like to break down all at once. Like, everything goes fucking boom and $1,800 I'm crying over a can of beer cause I can't afford to go to the bar for another month.

That gentleman's lady said...

I am friends with my Automobile. I trust him. He's big, fast and scares other people on the road enough that they get out of the way.


What I detest is the GPS in him.

It made me go several miles out of my way because I trusted it rather than myself.

Technology is NOT smarter than I.

Jhon Baker said...

Brake jobs are the life blood of most parts stores - maybe all. Keep your rolling death trap and you will be helping to keep food on the table of counter guys everywhere.

Bouncin' Barb said...

Every day we cross our fingers that something major doesn't go wrong because we haven't got a dime for repairs. I so hear you! Even if you had a new car, brakes aren't covered so you'd spend $$ anyway!

CarrieBoo said...

I never thought to equate vehicles to looks. I'm sort of green and rusty-looking, with lots of bits that don't work anymore.

I'd ride a golf-cart if I could.

Susan in the Boonies said...

The Pedicure!!!

LOL!

Beeg peace of sheet.

:-D

As always, you make me smile!

So sorry about your troubles, though!

Pearl said...

Jenny_o, yep! You pay through the nose when they start charging for blinker fluid!

Vanilla, it’s amazing how narrow that track is, though. Still, the cash policy is the best policy; and as long as it runs (and stops!!) and the rain/snow doesn’t come up through the floorboards, I can bide my time (and save!).

SeaD, your car’s name is Maggie! :-) I like that. She sounds like a sweet little thing – not to mention that her injuries got you started on your new-Maggie fund.

Suz, the chapbook is on its way. :-) Thank you!

Belle, my fondest wish is to have a car and driver. Well, no, my fondest wish is for food on the grill three nights a week. THEN a car and driver. :-)

aBroad, you know, I grew up with a lot of guys who knew about cars, too, but where did they all go?! And honestly, a taxi is perfect. Let someone else maintain the lousy things…

Cedar View, I actually had to call Mary and point out to her that Harleys go “potato potato potato”. We had a good laugh because you are absolutely right!

Cake Betch, what, Adam Sandler’s stealing my bits now?! :-)

That gentleman’s lady, I was once led astray by a GPS. The lousy thing had me go in a big circle. I caught on half way through, but he got me. He got me.

Jhon, this is the very reason I don’t shave the cat’s butt myself: it would take money from the cat groomers. :-) Now I’m carrying the auto shop as well. Sigh. It never ends, when you’re in a lower economic bracket, does it?

Bouncin’ Barb, if it’s not the car, it’s the dryer or the airconditioner or a million other things. On the other hand, I got a lovely pair of brown sheers for the windows in the sitting room over the weekend for $6.99 at Saver’s. So I got that goin’ for me. :-)

CarrieBoo, :-) Come to think of it, maybe I better invest in a better-looking car. Look-wise, I’m pretty sure I peaked a while back – maybe I need to adopt a more defensive stance!

Susan, thanks! Some day there will be a day with no problems in it – and what will I do then?!

Shelly said...

The visual of the little dog perched on the gas tank just really struck me as funny and it's been giving me a smile throughout the day-

Jeff (aka Sage) said...

Somehow, my posting here didn't work... but then I'm in China and using a proxy server to get beyond the Great Fire Wall that blocks things like Blogger and Facebook. Anyway, I haven't been around much this summer to read blogs and have been posting at a new site (instead of Sagecoveredhills). I always enjoy your stories... thanks for the laughs

Gigi said...

Pearl, as long as you have Jon you don't need to learn about cars.

That Janie Girl said...

you and me both, sistah!

Ann Imig said...

I was about to start complaining about my own sheetbox and then this stopped me in by tracks

"On the one hand, I’m glad that there are young men out there secure enough to wear their long hair up in a bun.

On the other hand, I wish they’d stop.

Once again, I am at odds with myself. "

Pearl, you are SO. GOOD.

aBroad said...

Did I ever tell you that the last car we bought ... about the license plates ?
John Kennedy Jr had just died.
Our license plates arrived .. JFK 39 N ...
The wouldn't change them and it was a huge pain in the arse to get new ones .. I had to drive around like a Kennedy groupie for months !

HermanTurnip said...

Bikers fixing autos? Has the world gone wonky?

I'm with you on car payments. I usually purchase a car then run it into the ground, going 5-7 years without having to make any sort of car payment, which frees up quite a bit of money for comic books and gumballs.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Hold on, Pearl, Maryna offered you their beautiful car? You not take? You not drive? Kindly forward their address.

Sorry for your car woes. It's very frustrating and scary to drive a clunker.
xoRobyn

Mama Spaghetti said...

Ah man...car troubles bite. I hear you on the payments, though. Car payments bite harder.

Tempo said...

There are two distinctly different kinds of people when it comes to cars, Those like you and I who use the car like any other tool, in this case to get from D to E...and the other kind who consider the car to be a reflection of themselves (poor fools)
I recently sold my 1970's totally rebuilt and restored Ford Falcon, I got four times what it cost new... and still people are asking me how happy I must be to have a new car!!! They really dont get it!

River said...

Just keep riding the us. Fill the car with dirt and plant geraniums.

River said...

Ooops! That's "bus" not "us"

The Jules said...

Ah, B is so overrated anyway. Used to be all right before the tourists got wind of it. If I was you, I'd stay in A.

Although I hear D's nice.

the walking man said...

Ah Pearl, Pearl there is a vast difference between knowledge of something and the ability to apply that knowledge.

Pearl said...

I have fallen in love with each and every one of you.

Please report to my house for drinks and snacks.

Audubon Ron said...

Hey Pearl, did you miss me? I've been at Hilton Head SC playing golf and hobnobing with the hobbiest.

Listen, I noticed you didn't say "your truck". Had you said, "your truck", then this whole story would make more sense.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The same reason why I put new tires on that dented, beige, rotten Momvan. A to B.

Tom G. said...

Ees troo. Car is necessary evul in Minnesota. Beeootiful women always look lovely as they buzz about like bumble bees on their scooters, with jaunty scarves, and cute little helmets.

Unfortunately, we live in a state where the weather is constantly trying to kill us, so the three greatest accessories for a beautiful woman, Scooters, Sailboats, and Convertibles, are totally impractical.

Pat said...

It doesn't have to be smart. Just go for a reliable one.

lime said...

oh lord have mercy but i hate the cars too. such a pain. how i miss decent, reliable, cheap public transportation