I have a terrible history with automobiles. My first car was a Ford Explorer that I loved, and named Betsey. She didn’t seem to love me much, and gave me problems from day one. She liked to do things like break down in the middle of Oak St. during rush hour or develop a constant ticking noise every time I accelerated. I had my first totally-my-fault crash in her, and ended up selling her to some fool for 400 bucks. He was well aware of everything that was wrong with her, but was certain he could fix her. I doubted this, but now when I see the occasional blue Explorer on the road, I wonder if it’s Betsey given another life.
After Betsey came a Buick named George. George was a tough old guy, who had no qualms about being born in the 90s, and got me from point A to point B every time. Once, he needed his battery jumped, and that was it. I maintain that George would still be on the road today, had I not hydroplaned off the 400 and crashed him into a guardrail. Like I said, I have terrible luck with automobiles.
It was fine though, because that’s about the time the kiddos became fixtures in my life, and they were out-growing the backseat of a sedan. I got Cricket, a red minivan that had no hubcaps but otherwise ran nicely and was fairly priced. Or so I thought. Maybe a week into owning her, she started falling apart. I had originally named her Scarlett, but changed it to Cricket after the character from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If you’re unfamiliar, this character becomes a progressively bigger mess as the series develops. The van was very similar in that respect. Still, she was running, so I was happy. Then I had eye surgery and couldn’t drive for a couple weeks, and when I went to start her up…nothing. I scrapped her for 300 bucks and bought the kids Christmas presents.
We went without a car for a long time, then one day my Aunt Cathy surprises us with her minivan (named Cathy, of course.) She was getting a new car and didn’t need it anymore. This was a miracle to us. That miracle only lasted so long, though, as we were t-boned one Memorial Day weekend. I took the money from the insurance and bought Natasha, a Chevy Uplander that handled great, for a while. Over our two years together, she started acting up, and one thing begat another until suddenly the mechanic was telling us the frame is bent and the muffler is broken and the door needs a part, etc. Which brings us to another miracle, named Marty.
Marty is an old man of a minivan, born in the year 2000. However, according to my mechanic, he is in pretty decent shape. He comes from my grandfather, who stopped driving recently and just happened to have an unused minivan sitting in his driveway when mine crapped out. Poppa took excellent care of the car, and thank god that he did. I am so grateful that I have wheels, I can’t even express it. Without a car, I can’t work. I can’t take the kids places. I can’t get to the doctor. I don’t have the freedom I need to not feel so trapped all the time by my depression. It’s a big deal.
I am looking forward to the new adventures that we will have in Marty. Where will he take us this summer, when the kids are hot and sweaty and we’re looking for a swimming hole? Where will Mark and I journey? Will we take a trip? We probably could. Will this be the van we take camping, like we intend to next year? Hoe many adventures can you fit into one car?
I had adventures in all my cars. Betsey took me to my first date with Mark. George took me across state to meet his mother. Cricket took us out the country in the middle of the night to show the kids the stars. Cathy…well she wasn’t around long enough, really, but Natasha moved me into my apartment and schlepped everything to and from the wedding. I’m excited to see where Marty leads us. I’m sure the adventure will be a great one.
Or, it will start falling apart in a week, because that’s my luck. Knock on wood, man.
Update, two weeks later: Marty is dead. I can’t say I’m all that surprised. Looks like we will be hoofing it from here on out.