Highway to Heck

April 18, 2006 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 4 Comments
  I love my new little car.  I wonder if I ought to name it.  It’s sporty, but not so cute.  If it was cute, I might have name it Aurora. . .
  But he is ugly, and scarred, and a little terror on the road.  Terror?  I like the name "Aziz."  I’m trying to be multicultural here.  I think I will go with a real foreign sounding name.  After all, the car is Japanese.  I believe I shall name him. . . . Nigel.
  So now I have five vehicles.  Five.  Four of them are running, and none are up on blocks, none are in the grass.  It’s the small victories.
  And the funny thing is, we have only two drivers in the house.  One right now, in fact, because with my wife’s broken foot, she can’t exactly maneuver behind the wheel.  My son should have his license, but doesn’t yet.  He’s a good driver, but has flunked his test twice.  I think he gets nervous.  But once school is out for the summer, we will take care of it.  One of the cars is his, the Grand Am, which is running but not licensed yet.  I have to take care of that this month.  I just didnt want to have to deal with the insurance yet.  And once he is driving, I might as well sign my paychecks over to State Farm.
  The one car that doesn’t run is the Grand Caravan.  Let’s see, how long have we had that?  What year did my daughter get married (the last time)?  1998 or 1999.  So it’s been paid off for a few years.  Plus, it took some hail damage several years ago, which we got an insurance check for.  The value was actually close to what it was worth at the time, and we just took the money.  The hail dings eventually worked their way out by hteirselves, almost all of them.  So the van is either free or worthless, depending on how you look at it.
  The van has a broken axle.  Last year, about this time, when I hit a deer, the van was the extra car.  I drove it for a few weeks while the truck was getting fixed.  It has a bigger engine and more power, and is quicker, too.  If it wasn’t a damn big-ass van it would be fun to drive.  The day I pick up the truck, and then have someone take me back and get the van, the van breaks down one block from our house.  I pushed it home (by hand) and put it in the driveway.  It’s been there for a year.
  Maybe I should do something about that. . . .
  Ny wife’s car is the Grand Prix.  I don’t know, she likes it.  I think it’s a dog.  It seems terminal to me.  150 thousand miles, and the main seal leaks oil.  This is not a cheap and easy fix.  My older son, the mechanic, has assured me that it will not get any worse, but I fear it blowing all the way.  It also has a lot of electrical issues, which I have worked on with limited success.
  And then there is my truck.  ’01 Ranger.  124k miles.  I like it, I like it alot.  This truck replaced another truck.  When I get rid of this one, I’m going to replace it with a bigger one.  There was a song:
 I love my truck
 It’s right outside
 Don’t have much love
 But I sure got a ride
  Few non-living things mean as much to a man as a truck.  Few living things, too.  A truck is more than a vehicle, and more than a phallic symbol.  It is a tool, a companion, a guide.  A way of life.  A spiritual essence that- – — 
  Okay, maybe I’m laying it on pretty thick.  A truck is many things to many people. 
  And yet–and yet I seemingly have betrayed the trust and bond I have with my truck by  buying this little car.  Or have I?
  I have a few logical reasons for buying the car.  Gas is going higher and higher.  I tried to dig my own oil well in the back yard, but I only got, like 8 feet deep, couldn’t find any oil, and when my wife finds that hole .. . . she’s either going to be pissed at me or scared of me, because it is suspiciously shaped like a grave.
  And why let a perfectly good grave go to waste. . ?
  Where the hell was I?  Oh, digging a grave.  I mean, mileage.  I did a little math for ya, and here it is:
20 miles per gallon. 600 miles is 30 gallons. 30 * 2.50 = 75 bucks.
 Hmmn.  30 gallons is 2 tankfuls, with a 16 gallon tank.  Seems like I need to put more in than that.  20 highway, less in town, and so some of what I get is in town?  No, because I generall fill the tank with 15 gallons right at 300 miles.  So maybe I’m driving more?  But lets go with this figure, for comparison.
36 miles per gallon.  600 miles is 16.66 gallons.  17 * 2.50 = 42.5 bucks.
So, I’m saving 32.50 a week, 130 bucks a month, off the top.  And I may be driving more miles than that, definitely not less.  Gas is probably going up, definitely not going to go down much if it does.  Actually, gas right now where I am is 2.69.  That makes the figure of savings per week 35, not 32.  Every little bit. . . .
  Not only that, having the car to put miles on will make the truck last longer, and, give us an extra vehicle if one breaks down.  Or when. 
  Plus, it is just plain fun to drive.  It is a tiny, tiny car.  I don’t have much trouble getting in and out. But it ain’t that easy.  Actually its not too bad, its just not the truck, where the seat is at butt-height and I just slide in and out.  In this car, the seat is about a foot off the ground.  It’s really funny to see my son get out and slide onto the ground.  I have become surprisingly nimble, like a Mercury astronaut.  Luckily there are lots of windows and a sunroof, so I don’t get claustrophobic.
Aside from the fact that it looks like it has been rode hard and put away wet (it has 175,000 miles on it) it is pretty sound, mechanically.  No oil or antifreeze leak anywhere.  It does make a lot of noise on the highway, the guy said it’s a bad bearing, back right.  Best bet is to go to the junkyard and get the entire spindle, that way I can do it myself and not have a machine shop press in the bearing.  We shall see.
  It’s aquamarine, with a white left front fender.  Has some other body damage, back left.  If I get a part from the junk yard to replace it, I want a different color, like red.  So that it all matches.  I have a sense of style, after all.
  I have this thing that I’ve done a few times.  For those of you who are new, or in denial, or have forgotten, I am reminding you now that yes, I am a dick.  The first time I did it, I just thought of it on the spot, and went with it.  This young girl we had working for us, came into work, into the restaurant a little wet.  She asks me, "Are your windows up, ’cause it just started raining?"  With that, it just started raining harder and thundered.
  I said, "Oh, shit!" and grabbed my keys right there on a side table, toss them to her.  "Quick!  Can you go close my sunroof for me?"  She turns and runs outside to my little truck.
  I don’t have a sunroof.
  She was soaked when she came back in.  Hair stringy.  Makeup running.  Is that a smile?  No, that is most decidedly not a smile.  She looked like second place in a cum-shot contest.
  I have done it three times since then, but none was funnier than the first.  It requires the unique combination of someone knowing what I drive, but not knowing I don’t have a sunroof, plus the added fixture of me being in a position where it is more practical for them to go than me.  Plus, the position of trust which I wantonly betray.
  But my whole point is, the new car has a sunroof.  This is so much funnier if I don’t have one.
  But, yeah, I was really impressed with the mileage.  the first tankful, I got 32 out of, and this last one I got 36.  It does have a lot of miles on it, but honestly, for what I paid, I have nothing to lose.  I could fix it up, do some high-performance mods to the engine, get a new exhaust, get some nice tires on it, fix the body and paint it.
  Or I could just drive the piss out of it.  Think I’m gonna go with "B." 


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  1. I want a car like that! But, sweetheart…. cars are female. Don\’t name her Nigel, she\’ll get all dyke on ya

  2. Nigel sounds like a good friend – AND sunroof or no sunroof – the T-shirt is still wet!! You\’re set there~! -patti  ha just read Kim\’s hmm that could be a problem – Nigela?

  3. When I was young and bullet proof I drove a \’74 Dodge Colt that I named "Chang" \’cuz it was a Japanese care.   I even airbrushed the name on the back of the car.   I had no idea how politically incorrect that would turn out to be… besides the fact that the cops knew the car AND my parents.
    By the way…. it\’s a SALVAGE yard.   not a junk yard.   My dad has owned a SALVAGE yard for 40 some odd years.   Still to this day if someone calls and asks "Is this the junk yard?"  He\’ll say no and hang up.  Several times in a row until they get it right.  He\’s kinda cranky.
    The sunroof joke is great.   I\’ll be looking for an opportunity to use that on somebody.

  4. Nigel?! Bwahaha… nerrrd. And I’m kinda flattered 😛
    I have a car too and I guess I’m gonna sell it. It’s nice blue Nisan Micra and I call it Blue Piggy (it really looks like a pig). It’s too silly and I want a fast car :D. By the way, I would have slapped you or something, or maybe not. Wet.. aghhhh.
    Anyway. I’m reading, and I can promise you that you’ll get a reply pretty soon 🙂
    Take care

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