Cars are a pain, and did I mention that cars are a pain? If not, I'll just go ahead and set the record straight on what I think about cars. They are a pain! They are just something you have to fork over tons of money for and they break and they cost money to fix and they need gas and an oil change, and new brakes and cleaning.
Three years ago our minivan needed a new transmission and we forked over the bucks for one. Now the transmission is acting up again. Jerry, the transmission mechanic, says he's gonna have to "rip apart the tranny" to figure out what's wrong. We told him, no, the minivan is going to sit in the driveway to think about its bad behavior until we figure out what to do with it. A transmission is supposed to last more than three years, we told Jerry. He agrees. That's why he'll throw in the free labor and just charge for parts. Wow, what a deal! Thanks Jerry.
In the meantime I finally have, however, a car that is not a pain. It is bright red and it is a Toyota and it is fun and sporty and cool and everything my minivan has NOT been for the past 10 and a half years. I drove it out of the lot on Friday night at 11:16 pm with a grin on my face as wide as the Mississippi but in debt up to my eyeballs. Oh well.
It has a CD player. It has automatic windows. It has a remote that opens the doors! It has 8 cup holders! These are new innovations I thought I'd never see in my lifetime!
Don't get me wrong. Minivans serve their purposes. Like when I had four young kids and carpools and lessons and shagging kids all over the planet, yes, I needed that minivan, and it was good to me. I was grateful for it. It went with us a lot of places. Across the country and back, to Disneyland and back a couple of times, up north to the cabin multiple times. Camping all over Southern Utah.
I drove it to the rec center so many times for swim practice, that it can get there by itself. The daughter we drove to swim practice 756,987 times is now away at college. And I've decided I will never again be in another carpool as long as I live. My kids have fewer activities now. So I just don't need that big of a car anymore. And I don't WANT a car that big anymore, but I still can't help reminiscing about the good times in the minivan.
The minivan has had a thousand wet towels on its seats over the years. It's had at least infinity crumbs from various foods ground into its carpets and seats. It's had all manner of baby fluids on the seats. It's had multiple car seats strapped into its seats. It's heard hundreds of arguments, been hit a couple of times, had the garage door shut on it, and been left running with the keys inside and the doors locked.
You could say it's been around the block a few times.
It's been through the car wash dozens of times, and it should have been there more. It's sat on its side on a snowbank in Wyoming. It's been vacuumed to death. It's been fixed to death, serviced to death and gassed up to death. Yet it's not dead. It's still hanging on, all 160,000 miles of it. Poor old girl. It's almost like I should take her out and shoot her, to put her out of her misery. I just don't have the heart to do it. There still seems to be a some life left in her.
So she's going to sit.
Since I got my new car three days ago, I have to keep pinching myself. When I wake up in the morning I say, "Oh yeah, there's a cool car in the driveway that I can drive today, and I bet it won't break down because almost new cars don't do that." That is a most pleasant way to start the day.
I feel spoiled rotten. But I also will feel safe this winter and when I get stuck in the snow I will be able to get myself out. And I will not have to worry what's going to break next, or how to juggle things so we can leave the car to be fixed.
I'm the first to admit that I need that peace of mind. I have better things to do than wonder what's going to break next.