My car is unwell. It’s been acting up for about a week. The general hypothesis is a clogged fuel filter. It also requires a small repair to the oil pan (that’s been a “when you get around to it” item for some time). It’s still driveable, but the “Check Engine” light is on. Needless to say, I don’t really like driving it like that. I put more oil in it this morning (it was quite low – relating to the oil pan issue), and Dad checked the assorted fluids and such this afternoon and pronounced it okay until I can get it in to the garage. I’d be happier about it if I still worked within walking distance of home…

This bothers me. It agitates me. It annoys me more than it should. In good part it’s because I grew up in the country. Car = independence in places where there is no public transportation. My car is an extension of myself. I have now been driving for half my life. I need to do this or that, get here or there. In my car I get, and off I go. I am a North American to my DNA. When I do not have a car I am not a happy camper. I get annoyed that the garage cannot fix the car NOW (even if it’s a Sunday evening). I hate asking for rides, even if I’m asking friends who don’t mind or even owe me favours. I have had a CAA Gold membership since I was 19. I don’t really consider public transportation in terms of getting around. It’s not great in KW, and I have never had any reason to get familiar with it. Besides, I believe it would take over an hour for me to get to work on the bus in the morning, and there would be at least one transfer. I’d get to work wanting to kill. This is not like hopping on the train and zoning out for an hour like I used to do in Sydney.

Ironically, I am not a car person. Giuseppe is a four-door family sedan, which is exactly what I wanted. He seats five adults comfortably. I can put dogs in the back and my bike in the trunk. He is fine for going to Home Depot. I do not spend countless hours tweaking and polishing. I did not put a vast amount of research into the purchase of Giuseppe (he is the first car I’ve had to buy, and the first car I’ve ever driven with less than 200,000kms). I had not tuned or modified him. I don’t even like checking the oil. (My aversion to maintenance is stupid and illogical but it’s there and won’t go away. I’m not afraid of the car; it’s like taxes, I just don’t wanna.) I do manage to keep an eye on things like oil and washer fluid and tire pressure as needed.) But take Giuseppe away from me and I will fantasize about running you over.

Amusingly, my father, on the other hand, is a Car Person extraordinaire. My mother says gasoline runs in his veins. He came of age in the 50s. He loves driving. His dream car is a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria. (That’s actually a 1955, but close.) He loves cars. He loves to look at them and research them and talk about them and speculate on new models. He loves to fiddle and check and grease and wipe and maintains his vehicles to a degree that I have not seen matched. It’s what he does. On driving holidays, before heading out in the morning, he cleans both sides of the windshield (and checks the fluids, and…) Home is out in the garage. My friends laugh at me because Giuseppe leaks “turkey fat” most of the year. (Dad oils the cars and the dripless oil resembles what’s left in the Thanksgiving roasting pan.) My father’s cars last FOREVER. The 1978 Cordoba holds the current record. He sold it at 555,000kms (to new owners, not the auto wreckers). His next car went to 350,000kms before he sold it. And make no mistake, Giuseppe, though bought and paid for by me, and with my name on the ownership, is not my car. Giuseppe is as much one of my father’s cars as the truck he drives to work. With any luck Dad will be around for a few more decades, but I already know that, whatever else may happen, the first time after he dies that I need my oil changed or want to ask about a weird noise the car made, I am going to lose my shit entirely. Cars = Dad, and always will.

When my previous car died (inherited from my parents), Dad found Giuseppe. (Interestingly, I’d been looking at a nearly identical car down here in Waterloo at the same time.) Dad is fond of Chryslers, and Dosman’s Garage in Mildmay sells used ones. We’ve bought several cars from them and have always had good experiences, and Giuseppe had just come in. I bought the car without seeing it. That’s why I own an Alpine Green sedan. 🙂

So my road trip for tomorrow is cancelled. I am not pleased. To compensate my brain is running over all the errands around town I can do… but don’t want to. I’m sure I’ll get to work in a bad mood on Monday from trying to not look at the Check Engine notice on the dash. It will take longer to get to work since I won’t take the Expressway. But Giuseppe will get fixed and I’ll find the money to pay for it and I will drive him up to my parents’ place soon and Dad will check him over as usual and put on the snow tires and we will keep an eye out for good deals on all-seasons for next spring, since the current tires are at their end. And soon I’ll replace the windshield wipers with winter ones and will get washer fluid that’s better for slush build-up than bug removal. And eventually something else will break and I’ll go through this again. And eventually I’ll decide it’s time to give up the disposable income I’m currently enjoying and will probably buy my first ever Brand New Car, and I will get to experience a whole new set of automobile experiences: researching, test driving, haggling, a car loan, new car smell (which actually makes me sick), surviving my first scratch, and life will go on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *