July 15, 2007

My Car

I bought her when I was 23. My first car that I bought. She was mine, all mine.

She was purchased from Hertz. They have a program where they sell their old rental cars at a flat price. No haggling. You like the sticker? Then buy it, you fool. My parents had previously bought 2 cars in this manner. I was intimidated by the whole car dealer process and had done my research. I knew what I wanted and what the going price should be. And I found 3 Corollas at Hertz in Houston. I test drove all 3 and settled on what is now mine. I really wanted the light purple one, but it had obviously been ragged out before, so color aside, the Gold Corolla came home with me.

My dad, being a Ford Man, wasn’t thrilled when I bought it. I had my reasons. I was in college, waiting tables and was poor. I needed a cheap car that got excellent gas mileage, would require few repairs, cheap repairs and would last until I had some actual money. Consumer Reports ranked the Corolla #4 on the bestest of the best, behind Accords, Camrys, and Civics. I couldn’t afford those, so I settled on #4.

I have since put 152,000 of my own miles on her. As the photo shows, she has a total of 178,689 miles. I drove to Kansas with her. A soul-cleansing drive that was much needed. I drove to Austin countless times while dating Not Craig. I drove to my parents in Dallas many times, most notably for Hurricane Rita. We drove her to Austin and back just last week.

I have not been kind to her. I get her in sticky predicaments. I don’t always perform proper maintenance. But she forgives me. She is so reliable.

She does have a few issues, don’t roll down the driver side window, it won’t go back up, the automatic locks work spottily, careful when using the visor, it may end up in your lap.

Something about that car….She has been dinged too many times. The first occurred when I was driving home after the bars closed when a crazy drunk guy riding a Motorcycle, rear-ended me. He flew way up in the air, landed on concrete, without a helmet….and was standing by the time I stopped my car and ran back to him. He was a bit sore the next day, but perfectly fine!!

When I first started my last paralegal job in Houston, I parked in a downtown flat lot. When I left work one day, I found that someone had backed over the hood. Damage a good foot into the hood. A guardian angel left a note providing a license plate number. While the lady denied that she had done the damage, the cops disagreed and her insurance company fixed my baby up.

A year or so later, some fool dented the fender. His buddy fixed it. And I drove around for a year with a mismatched bumper because the guy sucked at matching paint. But no worries, I was rear-ended in fair time. Progressive really impressed me with their service with this repair. Quick and easy. It might be sad when your car gets hit frequently enough that you begin to rank insurance companies...

The next damage was my fault. I skidded on wet pavement on the way to work and rear-ended someone. I was down to minimal insurance at that time, so the repairs were borne by me.

The final collision has not been repaired. And I get angry each time I get into my car. During the ROT Rally in Austin a couple years ago, my dear and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the Oasis. And when we left, found that the rear driver side door had been hit. It is hard to tell in this pic, but that truck parked so darned close!

The culprit, presumably a motorcycle, had not left a note, just hit my car and ran. Oh it makes me so angry. (Albeit a bit amused that the car has been hit 2x by a bike!) I have been ever so diligent with keeping my car in grand condition and some fool ruins it. However, with her age, (and since it isn't a big cosmetic issue) I have decided it just isn’t worth it to repair the door.

I love that car. I am a sentimental soul. I am very attached to her. She has seen me through my crazy 20’s. She now welcomes me in my much more stable 30’s. I dread the day we have to part. She has seen me at my worst, patiently sat while I bawled my eyes out, responded in kind when I was angry and peeled out just as I wished for her to do.

Over the years, she has taken me everywhere my wild heart wanted to go. Somehow, that car is a symbol of my past. Through all the changes I have endured over the past 7 years, she has been the one thing that has remained constant in my life. The one thing that has not let me down.

I want to make it 200K. I would be thrilled if she lasts longer. I don’t believe that I will get rid of her on my own. I will keep her until she finally surrenders. Until she says that she is ready for the great junk yard in the sky, I will be her faithful owner.


my4kids said...

I would love to keep a car that long but ours usually only last a couple years at most then the hubby wants something new.

Joy T. said...

Before I got my latest vehicle I drove a suburban which was just shy of 500,000km. I loved that vehicle. Here's hoping you make it to 200,00!

Kaytabug said...

Awww, what a sweet post.
I enjoyed your Rolla story!
I can't imagine getting any car to 200,000. I don't belive I have ever had one hit 100,000. I'm a bad bad girl!

mjd said...

What a good post to read, a car that runs for 156,000+ miles fits my idea of dream car.

Tiggerlane said...

Lots of folks seem attached to their cars - but you and your car have a HISTORY - a PAST.

Does she have a name?

Thanks for participating!

Beccy said...

What a wonderful love affair with your first car...I still miss my first car all the ones I've had since were just a mode of transport!

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

Toyotas are such great cars!

Sauntering Soul said...

I've only had my Acura for 4 years but I'm sad because I have to give it up next month (the lease is over). It has seen me through my divorce, dating again, moving a couple of times, some memorable trips, etc. I love that car but financially it makes no sense for me to buy it off lease. I'm going to miss it.

Pamela said...

I've heard of people buying the Hertz way.... maybe I'll consider that next time. Unless I win the lotto and actually buy a new car.

The little VW Bug that Amanda wrote about had close to 240,000 miles on it.

theotherbear said...

You are so lucky that for the worst accident, someone left the offender's numberplate. Don't you hate it when people do that and drive off!
I had someone run up my rear - of my BRAND NEW car - about 8 months or so ago. The lady refused to get out of the car at first and told me that my car was so scratched she was sure there was no new damage. It was dusty but not scratched. I eventually got her details. I was almost (but not quite) glad when my insurance company told me she had done several thousands of dollars in unseen damage where she had pushed in underneath the bumper, and the bumper had bounced back so it was hard to see. And she had to pay for the lot.

ChrisB said...

First cars are often special not that I felt that way about mine. We have Toyotas now and they are pretty good cars.

Louanna said...

Keep up the good work.

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