Me and My Little Red Car


When Thing One and Thing Two were small, they had a book called “Me and My Little Red Car”, about a little boy imagining all the places he could go in his little car.  It was a lovely little book, with beautiful vague watercolour illustrations.  I can’t remember all the places he went, but I do remember him going to Paris, and having lunch at a little cafe.

I have a little red car.  A little red Chevy Cavalier car.  It’s 11 years old.  It has been the victim of five years of commuting, and has 243,000 km on it.  The driver’s side window doesn’t work, the A/C conked out years ago, the power lock on the driver’s side is history, and the brake sensor is messed up.  I recently had to have a new support structure put on to keep the entire exhaust system from dragging along the ground.  It has been peed on, thrown up in, and generally abused.  It is never clean, and my trunk, yes, is full of junk.  I don’t know what I’m gonna do with all that junk inside my trunk.

WARNING:  Language!  And potential giggles.

This is only my third car, lifetime.  I took driver’s ed in highschool, but never got my licence.  Then I moved to Toronto to go to York and couldn’t afford to run a car anyway.  Besides, with the transit system in Toronto, I really didn’t need a car.

After we moved to Peterborough, and I had two small kids, I decided to bite the bullet.  I called Young Drivers of Canada.  I was about 30 at the time.  They said sure, no problem, we have students of all ages.  Yeah, right.  I found out later than they had all ages, all right, from 16 – 18.  I was the only adult in the class.  I enjoyed it, the kids were actually really nice.  One of the girls said she had a friend at school that I would really “like”.  I reminded her that most married 30 year olds with two kids don’t date highschool guys, as a general rule…

I didn’t get my full-fledged grownup licence until I was 35, and I failed the road test the first time.  My ex-husband promised me when I got my licence he would get the Colt painted for me. It never happened.  Before we separated, he had me cosign a loan for him so we could get a second car, as he didn’t qualify on his own.  I was supposed to get the newer car (as I drove the kids around everywhere), and he was going to drive the old Colt.  Guess what?  He changed his mind.  I wound up with the sh**tty old Colt.  Oh well.  In the separation agreement, he wound up with the car loan payments.  So, I guess we were square.  At least the Colt was paid for.

I drove that Colt into the ground.  I drove it to the wrecker’s.  The engine was great, but you could see the road speeding along beneath you through the rusted-out floor.

I got the Sable after that, “Atlantic Blue”.  My friend Nadine’s husband, who knew a lot about cars, helped me shop for it.  He’s passed away since then.  He was a very nice man, and very helpful.  He was quoted lower prices on the same vehicles that I inquired about.  I think it’s that “has a penis” thing…

The Sable was a great car.  It got bizarrely incredible gas mileage, and the previous owner had souped up the sound system.  It was basically a boom box on wheels.  I loved that car, it was the first car I ever bought myself.  It was great, until the transmission went.  I took it to the mechanic.  They fixed it, took my payment, and THEN advised me that there was one little problem…

I no longer had the option of  “reverse”.

I would just like to say a great big “SUCK IT” to Master Mechanic.  Yeah, that’s right.  You heard me.  I don’t think they handled that transaction very ethically.  Just sayin’.  I had been going there for years, and I think in the circumstances that they treated me badly. 

I tried living without reverse for about two weeks.  Can’t be done, really.

So, I started shopping for another car.  I bought a GM certified used Chevy Cavalier, four years old, 50,000 km, beautiful, clean, and I could afford the payments.  I chose the Cavalier because lots of my clients own older Cavaliers, and they seem to withstand the test of time very well.  They also get excellent mileage.  And, mine was RED.  Bright, in-your-face, fast, racy red.  There were actually two that were virtually identical, but the kids made me get the red one.

It owes me nothing.  I love that car.  I plan to drive it right into the ground.  The resale value is virtually nil.  It’s in terrible condition.  But it goes from A to B, cheaply, it stops when I ask it to, and it goes both forward and backward.  That’s all it has to do.  I have a little plastic Buddha on my dashboard looking out for me with a big smile.  When I get rid of that car, he’s coming with me. You can have yer plastic Jesus, I don’t care if I rains or freezes.  To each his/her own.

So, I think it’s going to pass away soon.  The next major repair estimate will determine when that happens.  I will miss that car. They don’t make the Cavalier any more, they stopped in 2005.  They replaced it with the Cobalt, and now they don’t even make that any more, it’s now the “Cruze”.

I’m not sure I’m ready for that.


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