Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why I Will Never Have a Nice Car

My cars are doomed from the start.  They really, really are. 

I have never once owned a brand new car.  Never.  And I probably never will.  It's not what you're thinking.  I know new cars lose like a third of their value when you drive them off the lot.  It's a sad fact of life that I'm sure will enrage car buyers for all of time.  But that's not my problem.  My problem is that no matter what I do, my cars always wreck.  

I should have known from the very beginning of my driving career that I would have terrible luck with cars.  On my very first day of driving during my Driver's Education class, I ran over a concrete block in front of a parking space. 

The rest of that day we drove around without a front bumper.  I'm surprised the teacher let me behind the wheel a second time.

Whether by my fault or not, every car I've driven on a regular basis has been plowed into something. My first car had been wrecked before I even owned it.  I then proceeded to wreck it three more times before it finally gave up and went to the big sputtering parking garage in the sky.  And now it's been pulled out of retirement by the very capable hands of my father--who has spent much of the past five years patiently fixing my poor lemon--only to face imminent doom in the teenage grip of my younger brother. 

The car I drive now was also wrecked before I owned it, and I suspect it may have been drowned as well because nothing electronic in it ever works properly for more than a month.  And maybe also set on fire, as it sometimes spews smoky-smelling air from the air conditioner vents.

 I have wrecked it twice since I got it. 

Both times have involved stoplights and my inability to properly pay attention to anything for more than a few seconds.  Luckily, the front bumper has always popped right back into place like nothing ever happened.  I have a good little car. 

But I can't hide the evidence of what happened this morning. 

Ever since I started my new job, I've been taking my brother to school most mornings since it's on my way and I like being helpful.  My brother has his learner's permit, so I let him drive us to school and then I drive myself to work.  It's been foggy in the morning lately, and the mirrors and windows of my car fog up too out of spite. 

My brother has a reckless streak.  He loves loud cars and driving fast.  He is also--like the rest of my family, including me--perpetually late for things.  This morning was no exception.  We were running late like usual, and he was juggling a notebook, coffee mug, and a pair of waffles wrapped in a paper towel as he flopped into the driver's seat of my car.  I, of course, wound up holding all these things. 

I was also holding my own pair of waffles, making sad faces, and pathetically trying to maneuver the delicious waffles to my mouth while holding all the other things.  I am sure he only wanted to alleviate my distress by trying to take back his waffles while backing up the car and trying to see out of the fogged-up windows.  Instead, his noble intentions backfired when the car was stopped by a loud crashing sound.  I, with my recent bad luck with my brakes, immediately thought it was brake failure.

 Oh, if only. 

The loud noise was in fact the trunk of my car colliding with the pumphouse.  For those of you with city water, let me explain: 

A pumphouse is a device modern rural folk use to draw and filter their own water from the aquifers below the earth's surface.  It's well water for us country bumpkins too far away from cities and towns for the town to supply our water.  An added benefit of this is that we know what chemicals and cleaning agents we put in our water, and are less likely to be unknowingly drinking a gallon of chlorine a week. 

Our well was dug around the same time our house was being built--about 14 years ago.  My family built our house themselves, save for a few things (like putting the roof on, getting the wiring done, etc.) that they hired other, more competent people to do.  Our pumphouse is made of wood (albeit covered with vinyl siding) that has been sitting outside in the elements for nearly 14 years. 

It is not used to disturbances of any kind.  

So when it was violently attacked by the rear-end of a car, the wood foundation gave way completely and it was hoisted into the air. 

When I realized that the car had hit the pumphouse, I lept out to access the damage.  I saw the pumphouse elevated by unknown means about a foot off the ground, pipes severed, water spewing everywhere.

 I immediately ran inside to get the master fix-it handyman of the house with a frightened cry of "DADDY THE PUMPHOUSE IS BROKEN WATER'S EVERYWHERE FIX IT." 

My brother was still in the driver's seat, gripping the wheel, staring unhappily into space, determinedly ignoring the gushing, floating pumphouse behind him.

After realizing there was nothing I could do, but that my brother still needed to get to school, I made him switch places with me--he was in no shape to drive--and I took him to school.  He didn't say a word the entire trip, just stared out his window. 

When he left, his pair of waffles, snug and secure in their paper towel, lay uneaten on the dashboard. 

1 comment:

  1. My oldest daughter had a string of fender benders before totaling a care. deductibles can add up.

    We need a follow up story about the leaking pumphouse.