Earlier this week, my 14-years-old mid-sized sedan failed me. I drove the 71 miles home from the college where I work, parked in the Publix parking lot while I went inside for a few items (beluga caviar, champagne, brie, and so forth – the usual), and came back out. I tried the ignition and every light on the dash lit up. No go. I left my things in the car, walked home (30 minutes on a beautiful day), got my aging pickup truck, and drove back. Still no go. I went home.
I had it towed to the dealer.
I needed transportation to work. That old pickup truck I mentioned came to mind. It’s 21 years old and has frequently failed to start, leaving me stranded at various points in the neighborhood. I had never taken it farther than walking distance home; never out on the Interstate. I decided to risk it. So, at 5:45 the next morning I prayed, cranked the engine, and drove south. The truck is not well known for its power, acceleration, or comfort. This is because the engine is small – two cylinders, maybe. But it worked. I passed one car on the Interstate and was proud of it. Everyone else passed me. Humbling. On inclines my mph dropped to 50, on downhills I was able to get up to 70. I made it to work and thanked God. I also made it back without incident. And thanked God.
The people at the dealership told me it was probably a battery, which would cost a bit over $200. I said, “Go ahead.” Not bad. They called later and said the transmogrifier was kaput, pushing the cost up to a tad over $700, which is $200 more than I paid for the truck.. I said, “Go ahead.” A third call, one they admitted wasn’t good, was that the bilateral bushing dweidler would have to be replaced. They could get the part in the next day and complete the job. “How much?” I asked.
Just a hair over $1,700 he said.
At this point I was feeling faint. I summed up my courage and said, “So, what if I don’t have you fix those things, other than the battery?”
“Well,” he said, kindly, gently, “your steering will be unreliable and your tires on the right side will disintegrate, hurling you into trees or other motor vehicles.”
I already felt like his call had hurled me into a tree. Still, safety is paramount, so I said, “Go ahead.”
We’re picking up the new, improved 14-years-old sedan shortly.
The old pickup truck is looking better and better. I’m calling it “Ol’ Reliable” these days.