Friday, January 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

In November 2001, I killed my beloved Plymouth Horizon. I drove into a cement filled metal bar, sticking about 3-4 feet out of the ground. I bent the frame, broke an axle, broke a tie-rod, and my front tires were facing the opposite directions. It was just my own dumb luck. I had been having an asthma attack, pulled into the parking lot at Ward's Corner, and while watching someone pull out of a spot and concentrating on my breathing, I hit the pole. Luckily, no one was hurt and there was no damage, other than what I did to my car.

It was a red 1988 Horizon that I bought with my mom in 1996 from Holdiman Motors in Cedar Falls, IA. My mom told me that lot was one of the first victims of the local economy for car lots back home. When I killed it, I had over 150,000 miles on it. That car had a lot of good times for us.

To replace the Horizon, my husband and I bought a black Chevy Blazer. It was bought right off the lot at Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake, VA. It was brand new with nine miles on the odometer when I brought it back from a test drive. My husband basically bought it for us, sight unseen, because he was deployed and I bought it in his name.

Over the last 2-3 years, that Blazer had turned into a bucket of bolts and I don't know why. It was lovingly cared for and kept up to date with its maintenance. It made noises, rattled, drank antifreeze, ran through thermostats like a kid outgrowing shoes, and basically needed to be put out to pasture. My husband wanted to drive it off a cliff at times, into the ocean, but we don't live anywhere near mountains, just the sea. Either that, or he wanted to put a bullet into the engine. He cursed at it until he sounded like he had Tourette's, mumbling and yelling that it was a piece of shit because it was an American made vehicle. "Never again," he'd mutter under his breath, "Buy Japaneeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssse." He'd hiss like a snake, caked in black from his elbows to his nails in a solid color that looked like he'd been molesting that engine instead of working on it. And it's not like he's guessing what to do...Shane is very good at car repairs, but with the Blazer, it really honed his skills.

I used to try and defend it but as the months wore on, I couldn't do it anymore. I told him that if the Blazer was a Transformer, it would be retarded. Look, I know that's not nice and not really PC, but I mean no ill to any exceptional person out there. I actually have an uncle that's exceptional and I love him to death. Bruce could make a kite go higher than anyone I've ever seen, and on a still day without any wind, no less. I was always jealous of his prowess with a kite. Shane said it would get stuck halfway between vehicle and robot. My friend Joel said it would be named Corky and the other Transformers wouldn't want anything to do with it. I think it would talk with a lisp and limp on a soft tire.

After watching an episode of "Bait Car," Shane suggested I leave the Blazer running, with the doors open, in a sketchy neighborhood, so maybe someone would steal it for us. I told him that I'd have to take the plates off and remove the registration, because if someone took it, they'd just bring it back to us and I didn't want anyone to have our address.

"Excuse me, but I think you lost your Blazer."

"No, that's not mine, I've never seen it before in my life."

"Then why does the garage door opener work on your garage door?"

Anyway, Shane wrote up an ad on Craigslist and posted it with pictures on Wednesday night. By the next morning, he had 10 responses to it already. He actually sold it this afternoon, right out of the parking lot where I work, without ever lying about what it is. It makes me wonder, WTF? I realistically know that if you are looking to buy a vehicle on CL, it's probably more of a matter of finances (or maybe for something specific), so maybe you can't get financing for what you really want, so you buy what's available. But maybe there's a shortage of low gas mileage rattle traps with acne scarred hoods and dog nose prints on the rear windows. I never could understand what the deal with the hood was and those little scarred areas.

Tomorrow, we're going to Priority Honda in Chesapeake to pick up our new Honda Fit. It will be nice to not have to worry about where and when I was going to break down next. Would the Blazer get thirsty as I ran errands on my lunch break, and did I need to pick up some Monster Antifreeze for the damn thing?

Even though I complained about it more at the end, Shane actually started to defend it. When it was reliable, it was very reliable and he feels that modern day American made vehicles have a life span of about 10 years anyway. But the truth is we also had some great times with that vehicle, but I think he may have been sorrier than me to see it go. But the guy that bought it lives here in the same town as us, and not too far away, so there's a chance we could see it out and about in town again.

Probably sitting on the side of the road, smoke blowing from under the hood, with an exasperated woman behind the wheel, rummaging through her purse for her cell phone to call her husband. "It's doing it again!"

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