I try not to complain about my car. For one, I get weirdly attached to my vehicles, and even though I realize that they are simple machines without independent intelligence, I spend enough time inside of them that I notice what in a non-machine would be called “personality,” and also, um, most of my cars have had names. My current car is the only one I’ve ever had that doesn’t have a name, but that’s only because I’ve never found a name that fits. Which is the exact same issue I had when I got The Cat, and that’s why he’s called The Cat instead of Elmo (the name the shelter people told us to use) or Loki (my first suggestion, which lasted about a day and a half before I realized it didn’t work at all).
Second, I’m amazed that humankind is even able to build, drive, and maintain the use of cars. When you really think about it, it’s bizarre that we as a species have created this ambulatory unit that gets us everywhere we want to go every day with very little complaint. When I think about the miles I travel in my car in a regular month – the miles that a person who lived 150 years ago could never even hope to travel in maybe their lifetime – I am blown the fuck away. And you guys, I don’t even get high before I think about these things.
Third, I have fairly good luck with cars. Well. I mean. If I believed in jinxes I would add “so far” or “for the most part, hopefully, fingers crossed.” But no car of mine has ever really fucked me over. There have been good cars, not-so-good cars, and cars that no one could believe still ran (RIP Loomie, hope you’re fueling up with the souls of the dead even in Heaven), but no car has ever died so spectacularly that I’ve been stranded on the side of the highway or caused a major pileup in traffic.
Fourth, this car I have now? Got me across the country. With no mechanical issues, I should add, and I’m especially impressed by that considering the wind- and firestorm in South Dakota, some of the mountains we drove up (and back down) further west, and the general distance we covered before encountering the hilariously heartbreaking stop-and-go of Seattle traffic. It’s got some strange quirks but still a load of getupandgo, and it’s served a pretty badass purpose.
So I try not to complain about my car, but it is pushing me this time. A few months after moving to Seattle, my headlights went out. To be fair, one was already out, but the other one dimmed and died pretty quickly, which would have been a minor inconvenience had it not occurred on the highway on my way to work. In the dark. In the rain. And getting the headlights replaced wasn’t as simple as opening the hood and reaching for the wires like I did in a previous car. Since this is a car built after 2000 by the Japanese, apparently it’s a) intended for dolls and b) not actually functional if you want to move anything around under the hood. So it had to be taken to a mechanic, who grumbled the whole time about how he’d never buy a Mazda.
Then my front tire went flat. Not a huge deal and at least it happened as I pulled into my parking spot at home rather than on the bridge or something, but it went flat and had to be fixed. And since then, it’s been getting gradually lower, as has one of my rear tires. And of course those wily Japanese put wheel locks on them, which means that I have to explain to the tire place A HUNDRED FUCKING TIMES that I got the car secondhand more than two years ago, there is no wheel lock key, and no I can’t go to the dealer to get one, please just break the goddamn things off instead of waiting two hours and stuttering an excuse about how you didn’t listen to me the first nine times I said it. It’s at the tire place now and they just confirmed they were able to break off the wheel locks (very good, do you want a cookie?), but the price of two new tires makes my belly hurt.
Also, now my gas tank won’t fill all the way. The pumps shut off at only a few gallons, and if I try to push it, gas splashes out all over my pants and then everyone at work complains about the way I smell. The Internet says this is a charcoal canister or a filler neck issue, but either way I have to take it to the mechanic because putting anywhere from $2 to $10 in every two days just to get to work and back is a pain in the ass.
So I love my car, my tiny, nameless, finicky car, but it’s really starting to piss me off, and this is kind of why I take the bus or walk everywhere on weekends.