This past winterI had the chance to upgrade from my 1994 Ford Aspire to a . . gasp! 1994 Ford Escort. The Escort was/is a heck of an upgrade, all kidding aside. The back seat is big enough to hold three of the kids, it's automatic rather than stick, and it had a lot fewer miles.
Many people expressed interest in buying the Aspire, but no one came forward with any dough.
Then last week the Escort went down. Remember that pothole that caused some trouble on the day I picked up my last check? Well the damage was more extensive than I'd thought, totaling more than $500 in suspension work. Without a steady income stream I cut a deal; a mechanic would fix my Escort in return for the Aspire. Fine with me.
Me bedroom at 5:45 this morning: the phone rings and it's the mechanic saying that the car isn't where he parked it last night. I called the city, assuming it had been towed. The police were confident it hadn't been and suggested I report it stolen. Fighting off panic I tossed on some clothes and headed to his house, only to discover he didn't mean the Escort, he meant the Aspire.
He'd parked it on the street, sans plates, in one of the most tow/ticket happy cities in the Midwest. I'm not a fan of our parking laws, but c'mon. He'd also, as luck would have it, not transfered ownership of the car yet.
So Lisa and I wasted a morning at the city tow lot. [A news crew was there, presumably filming people's reactions to the winter parking regulations, and I ruined a shot by walking past the interview with a screaming Smiley in my hands]
I went back to the mechanic, who'd given me the $90 tow fee, and told him the news.
"Junk it," he said. "It isn't worth it to me. Just get rid of it."
It turns out he can't register the car because of outstanding tickets. In a way the whole mess might have worked in our favor. God forbid he'd crash the car in the future; we'd might have been left with the legal responsibility for his actions.
So . . . Lisa and I could go back, pay the $50 citation, apply the $90 in tow fees, spend just under a bill to get the plates, and after all that be stuck with a 14 year old car with a leaky gas tank, a bad alternator, a bad exhaust and no parking spot in which to put it. Or we could, like he said, junk it.
With a twinge of bitterness and a lot of regret we paid the citation and the tow fee, $145 in all, for the privilege of then signing our title over to the city and condemning the car to the junkyard. If I'd still been working I might have paid for the plates and kept the car in reserve for my nephew, but no-can-do.
Oh, and at the tow lot Lisa accidentally smashed my left hand in the car door, cutting my pinkie and causing the hand to swell. No biggie, just a dull ache after a time, until I fell forward down the stairs today at home, arresting my fall with the bruised hand. The pain has easily tripled and typing's a wee bit hard.
Ah, yes, I forgot the best part: no Aspire meant no payment, and so the Escort is back, unfixed.
What a day.
* * *
I'm doing much better in my quest to distance my emotions from mere objects, but this one hurt. Lisa was very melancholy. She'd bought the car February 1st of 1995 when it had but 36 miles on the odometer, and it went to its last resting spot with one owner and 120,000 miles.
Vi (short for Violet) was a great car. It was blue - Laguana Blue according to the paperwork - but there was a constant debate about whether it was blue or purple. Despite its small size the driver's area was spacious.
The gas mileage was great, right up to the end, and no matter how hard a Wisconsin winter attacked she'd start right up.
Lisa and I went on our first date in that car. We were in an accident with it only a few days later, as we were too busy paying attention to one another than the road ahead of us.
We both learned to drive stick with that car. We took it to Louisville once, Georgia twice and once reached 100 mph on the way to Madison. We took it through fog drenched mountains and snow covered roads. We once literally outran a hurricane with it. We'd slept in that car, made love in that car, took our first child home from the hospital in that car.
It was a great car, and it deserved a better end than I provided for it.
Salud Vi. We'll miss you.