Dec 25, 2009

For Adults Only

On Sunday, two days before my 33rd birthday, I am going to seriously begin a search for an "adult" car.

The first and only car I ever owned (which I still drive) is a 1996 Hyundai Accent that I bought in 2003 for $3K cash.

To those of you keeping track, yes I was 27 before I started driving. Sure, there was the short-lived moped scooter thing in which I putted around town at 20 MPH and the ex-boyfriend's Civic that I put into a ditch. But the Accent was my first honest-to-goodness vehicle registered in my name.

The Accent has served me well. To date, it only has about 66K miles on it. Yes, it sounds odd, but it’s quite true. I have never been much of a driver. I've never lived very far from any of my jobs; my current place of employment is 3.5 miles from my house (including the .5 miles it take be to spiral up the parking complex). Merging on to highway entrances make me nervous. Plus, John's Cadillac is an infinitely better ride with the bun warmer seats and all.

For the longest time, I really didn't care what my Accent looked like. Though 99% of the time my car was the shittiest in any parking lot I entered (in Fort Lee, even the teenagers drive BMWs), I didn't get too bent out of shape about appearances.

Noise is another story.

Two weeks ago, a security guard at work asked me if I knew that something was "hanging off" the bottom of my car. I was so embarrassed. Upon a rigorous flashlight inspection, John said it was "nothing important" and that he couldn't get it on the lift until the weekend.

So, I drove it to work the next day. I scccccrrrrraaaaaped past the same security guard as his beady eyes followed me into the parking garage. Oh, the humanity. I was so pissed at the whole thing that I ran over the speed bump at a clip that much exceeded the posted 5 MPH parking garage speed limit. Consequently, whatever was hanging there flew off and bounced a few times down the ramp. When I got to the office, I warned the ladies that some metal is on the loose in the parking garage. "What level?" they asked. "D," I said. "‘D’ for ‘detritus’." I settled in to my cubicle and called John, who wasn’t surprised. When I told him what happened he said, "I knew it would come off as soon as you hit something." Thanks.

Now, the fucking thing is loud, smells like oil leak (whole other problem), and shakes on occasion when idle. It’s to the point that I don’t even carry my nice handbag as no one would ever believe that someone driving such a bomb would not be toting a counterfeit. I feel like Columbo. Or that kid with the bouncy hair in the free credit report dot com commercials (...Now instead of lookin' fly and rollin' fat/My legs are sticking to the vinyl and my posse's getting laughed at). Uggh.

So, following a pleasantly uneventful Christmas, we are going to a dealership in NY to look at a Pontiac Solstice that is supposedly fantastic. I've wanted one since they've come out, but I am a little apprehensive now that Pontiac is officially down the tubes and whatnot. Not to mention the financial impact of a car payment or a full coverage insurance premium. I've never had either in my life. I guess this is all part of the having an "adult" car – it brings with it "adult" problems like budgeting.

We'll see. Unlike the bouncy haired guy, I've got perfect credit, so perhaps it won’t be too bad. Maybe it won’t happen this weekend, but I've got to get something going soon, or soon I won't be going…anywhere.

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