“The wipers don’t work and the horn don’t blow but there ain’t nothing wrong with the radio.”
— Aaron Tippin
We are not fancy people. I know this comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who reads this column regularly — or at all. As a result of being decidedly unfancy, we haven’t even had a car payment for more than a decade. In fact, our newest vehicle is well over 11 years ago.
Our oldest vehicle turned 21 this year —so proud! Sure, the frame is wonky, the bumper is twisted, and the passenger side door doesn’t open at all. On the other hand, the window is always open about 3 inches. Rain, snow, sleet or hail, that window remains steadfastly open. The horn really does not blow. If I want to get someone’s attention, I guess I just have to yell and wave. The air conditioning and radio work, and it always starts right up though.
Six months ago, we went hog wild and decided that I, being of sound mind and body, needed a new(er) vehicle. I could win the lottery and would still buy a used car, so rest assured I don’t do brand new.
We found a gently used, late model vehicle that would meet our needs. My needs being I want a rolling living room on wheels. Mr. Wonderful is all about traction. So, a big vehicle with four-wheel drive is a must for him. We do live up an almost impassable country lane (by design).
I felt pretty fancy, I can tell you. That lasted for exactly five months until we started having problems. By problems I mean the vehicle started acting crazy. A little wrench would appear on the dash, and it would not go over 35 mph or so. I’m no mechanic but it seemed like a cry for help. So that was fun.
We took it to the dealer as one does when they are being fancy. In the past, all our vehicles were repaired by Mr. Wonderful in the garage. Going somewhere official to have things officially inspected was very new. Is this how other people live?
They called quickly. The good news: the problem was covered under warranty. The bad news? Due to COVID, they had no earthly idea when they could get the part. I have no idea if and when the correct part may arrive. I am enjoying driving the dealership’s loaner vehicle, but I feel at some point, I’m supposed to have my own vehicle back? Probably? I mean isn’t that how these things work?
Back to old faithful
In the meantime for the week or so before I received a loaner vehicle, I resorted to driving the oldest vehicle in our fleet. That circa 1999 beauty with the permanently closed door and the permanently open window. She isn’t fancy, but she gets you there.
Meanwhile, because when we break tradition we go big, BoyWonder also found himself in need of a newer vehicle. His first-ever such purchase. He’s a big boy now with college and internships and a job. In the midst of a three-hour commute, the 17-year-old vehicle he was driving finally gave up the ghost. Fortunately, it did so on a slow curve on a quiet highway.
Dear Honda, thank you. We knew before the tow truck arrived that the vehicle would not be saved. We scrapped the car, he grabbed that old 1999 truck, and headed off car shopping. He found something perfect for him. Sporty but solid, a standard shift, late model in wonderful shape.
He owned it less than a month when someone backed into it, because of course, they did. The entire front end was mangled, but the people inside it were safe — which is what matters after all.
While we awaited word on repair, he came home to retrieve, you guessed it, old trusty — rusty — 99. She’s rolling on nearly 300,000 miles. Still battered. Still bent. Still starts up. Keeper.
Many times I have suggested it was time to get rid of that old truck. More times than I can count, it has come in handy after all. This is the point where I can and should say they just don’t make ’em like they used to.
Dear 2020, I believe I was promised flying cars. I did not sign up for this. It’s ironic that in our quest for newer, better and fancy, we keep coming back to the tried and true —whether by choice or default.
BoyWonder expressed some concern that he would be parking in the big city with a window that didn’t close all the way. I assured him it was fine because the passenger door that window is attached to doesn’t open — ever. It’s a balance. She’s a keeper — a well-ventilated keeper.
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