My Car

john-swammyMy car is a symbol of who I am.

The door latch on the driver’s side doesn’t work.

No problem. I’ve got a door on the other side. I simply open the door on the passenger side, and push open the door on the driver’s side from the inside. Then, I walk around the car and get in behind the wheel.

I always keep the door on the passenger side unlocked, because the lock is worn out and might jam. If a thief wants to steal my car, I hope he tries only the locked door on the driver’s side.

You think I’m jealous of you and your new BMW, or your Mercedes, your cell phone and your latte coffee? Not on your life. My 82 Toyota has 275,000 miles on her, and is still going.

There’s a leak in the engine manifold, causing the engine to sound like a World War II B-52 revving. I know it’s loud. Pedestrians turn around at my approach and stare quizzically as I pass by.

My co-workers can hear me coming long before I arrive at work. That isn’t a problem, only leaving, when I want to sneak out of the office early. I now park farther away from work.

This is not a politically correct car. Like Roy Rogers loved Trigger, I love this car.

The latch to pop the hood doesn’t work, and so I use a length of metal to hold the latch in the up position, then walk to the front of the car and lift the hood. A little imagination is all it takes.

The driver’s side window started to fail because of countless crankings over the years, and so I now get out of the car, crank the window up and help it by lifting the window with my hand as I crank. Works every time.

A mechanic (in a thick Vietnamese accent) said recently the car is ancient, suffers from low compression, and that I should get a newer car.

I looked at him with narrowed, jaundiced eyes and said, “I’m a low compression driver.”

This is the car you always see doing 55 mph in the slow lane. This is the car that holds truckers with huge rigs to a reasonable speed (when they can’t pass). Boy they get angry. I can see the word “Peterbuilt,” smack up against my rear windshield.

To heck with ‘em, teach a little humility, remind the selfish bastards of an earlier day, when the pace of life was slower, when toughness and permanence meant something—–before the plastic age.

I’ve never bought a car. Relatives have always given me their cast-offs. I drove my wife’s dad’s car after he passed away. Then I drove my dad’s car after he passed away.

I’m out of relatives who’ll give me a car.

I went out to my car last week, and for the first time it failed to start. The gallant battler had finally quit. I was heartbroken, like losing a trusted old friend. I tried and tried. Nothing. I was on my way back into the house to call a tow truck.

I thought, what the hell, give her one more try. The car started.

This is a great car!



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