Yesterday, I parked my car and I’m not driving it again. It was getting too scary to drive and rather than get stranded away from home, I decided to get it here and park it. It’s beyond fixing for me. I’m not putting another dime into her.
14 years and 129,000 miles (50,000 are mine) and she’s ready to retire. This is the car I’ve had the longest. I shall miss our adventures, driving to Galveston, the tumbleweeds getting stuck underneath her in San Angelo, and… never knowing what electrical issue she’d have next.
In 21 years of driving, I’ve had three cars. My first was a tan 1979 Chevy Chevette that had four snowtires on it year round that I named Clovis (after the chocolate milk commercial — chocolate milk comes from chocolate cows, right Clovis?). Clovis had a little shimmy at 90 mph, but that little car could move! It also could hold 11 high school students (don’t ask) or my very large little brother, our friend Joe, and his 10 speed to go to baseball practice.
Clovis never had a/c (in Indiana that’s optional) but he had a kickin’ stereo system courtesy of my older brother, who installed the cassette stereo for me and made big speaker boxes (spray painted gold) for the back. I drove Clovis from 1985 – 1991, when it died the weekend I graduated from college.
In 1991, I bought a 1988 Chevy Cavalier that had power nothing and in which the car stereo was stolen from it when I first moved to Houston in 1994. The last two years, this car did not have a/c. In 1998, Rosie (she was red) got some water in her computer when I found myself in water up to the car doors during one of Houston’s rare (cough, cough) flash floods. In the end, she wasn’t worth fixing and off she went. RIP Rosie.
In 1998, I drove my dad’s old car (Ruthie Buick) from Indiana to Houston with a friend. At the time, the car was only 5 years old and in great shape. The a/c worked (until that fateful day in 2000 when it was 106 degrees and it went out). The electrical issues were non-existent then. As with any car I’ve had, the issues started almost immediately upon my ownership. Ruthie was no different. The alternator goes out every 12-18 months beginning the year I drover her down here. With me not having the money to take care of Ruthie properly, I suffered through 6 years of no a/c and a myriad of other electrical issues. So, as I said, yesterday, I parked her, and there she shall stay until someone comes to take her away.
And now, I have to find a way to get another car. I’ve never shopped for one, and heaven knows, I don’t know how I’m going to pay for one. So, rather than buy the first thing that comes along, I’ve been doing a lot of research and hopefully I’ll find something affordable (and hopefully reliable) soon.
I’m really fighting with myself over this feeling of failure. I have failed, yet again, to provide for myself. I’ve learned my lesson, I now live within my means, I’m getting my debt down to a more controllable level, and I’ve been credit card sober for over a year now. While I am happy with all that progress, I still have a way to go.
I don’t doubt that God has it all under control and that I’ll come out on the other side of this with a wonderful story to tell. I have a roof over my head, it’s warm in my room (it’s only about 40 outside and it’s raining), I have food to eat, and in a week or two, I’ll have fluffy towels again. I pay my bills on time, and I have everything I need. I feel greedy asking for more, but I will anyway, because I have not because I ask not.
God, I ask you for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference… and the motivation to do something about the things I can change. Amen.