Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Car Proud

This weekend I went to a self-serve car wash and sloughed off layers of dirt. I’m not really sure where all this dirt came from, my car was never this dirt when I lived across the bay, but it was there and really getting on my nerves. I’m not sure why this is, but I just feel better when I am driving a clean car. I can catch the gleam off the front of the car and I can’t help but smile when I can see things I never noticed before because the windshield and side-view mirrors are so clean. I’ll admit this may make me a bit of a freak.

I’m not sure where this car pride came from. It can be a hassle too. I don’t always have the time or motivation to clean my car on a regular basis. Much of the time it has a certain air of grunge to it. Not a big deal and the average person wouldn’t notice or even care. Last April, I got a dent in the side of my car. I’ll admit it’s been bothering me for quite a while. I just don’t have the money to get it fixed right now. I am amused by complete strangers stopping me to offer to fix the dent. Makes me think it’s an easy thing to pop out otherwise they probably wouldn’t be offering. Plus I find that accepting the imperfection of my car is a good thing. If I keep fussing over it, how will I ever eliminate my debt and save some money for a change?

Yesterday morning when I got to my car, parked a block from my apartment, I discovered that someone had broken into it. The convertible top had a neat circular cut near the front of the passenger side, just big enough for an adult arm to reach in and unlock the door. I didn’t even notice it at first. I actually thought that I had somehow left the passenger door unlocked. There really wasn’t anything taken aside from this case I used to hold my CD player. The case might have had a CD or two in it, I can’t remember, but the CD player is safe and sound in my room hooked to my old stereo. They tried to get into the glove box, but it was locked. The latch was a little funny, in that it gave a little before you realized that it was locked. In this case, it was ripped right off. Luckily there isn’t a whole lot of stuff in there, since it is locked and now unopenable.

I had a lot of papers and garbage stuffed behind the seats. I hadn’t thought about that, and perhaps that is what enticed the intruder to break in and take a look around. Oddly they didn’t take the change in my cup holder, and didn’t take anything out of the trunk, even though I forgot to lock the console panel between the seats. I am a little sad that someone violated my little “Zulie”. I went to the local police station to open a case since I knew I’d need that for the insurance claim. It didn’t take long, but did keep me from the gym that morning. Later that day I called and opened a claim and contacted a local auto body shop 10 blocks down the street to schedule a time to get an estimate. I am happy to say that at this point I was less stressed due to the understanding people I dealt with at the Police Station, Insurance Co and Body Shop.

This morning I brought my car in and was told that the convertible shop had my top in stock (no surprise there, since there are hundreds of Miatas in this city) and the latch was also available. If I left it today, I could have it back as soon as tomorrow. Wow! So I had them drop me off at a nearby rental car agency and got a car for the next couple of days. I am more than a little excited by the thought of being able to see out the back of my car with the top up. I bought Zulie used and the prior owner did *not* follow the proper care guidelines for the plastic window. I had a new convertible top on my wishlist of things I’d get when I could afford it. Granted this is going to cost me the insurance deductible but it’s considerably less than it would be if I paid for the whole thing myself.

So that’s where I’m at. Some times I think about what it would be like to not have a car. I’d have more money, since normal care and upkeep are pretty pricey. But I wouldn’t have the freedom to come and go as I please. I’m not sure if I would live someplace where I couldn’t afford to have a car. Assuming that I’m not stuck in traffic I love driving my car and it’s one of my favorite thinking places. Most of the things I end up writing here, begin while I’m driving in my car. With the new job, I’m not going to be driving as much. That’s okay, sometimes it’s just good knowing that it’ll be there when I need it.

Tell me what things you are almost irrationally proud of even if it makes you sound a little crazy.

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