Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fixing the Problem

On Sunday, I got a flat tire.

Well, more like Saturday, but I noticed it Sunday.

So, I was pretty much stuck for Sunday and Monday – the car -fixing place was closed for the holiday.

I took it in this morning.

The summary?

One flat tire, 90 minutes and half-a-month’s paycheck later, my car was fixed.

Turns out that one flat tire means that two are broken, alignment is necessary, and a whole bunch of other stuff is wrong.

‘Cause it can never be as simple as a fucking flat tire.

There’s always something else.

Funny how one mishap can expose all the cracks and problems beneath the surface.

Even funnier how one problem can make you curse the car, and make you forget all the good the car has done, how many good miles the car has given you, and how well the car has performed in the past. It's like all the past good is somehow erased when a problem comes up, and all you can focus on is how flawed the car is.

It’s crazy how dependent I have become on my car – there was a time in my life where I didn’t have one, and I was just fine. I would walk, ride my bike – I was forced to creative and resourceful and healthy and, well, free from the obligations of having a car. But it’s like once you get it, you just immerse yourself in it, and you can’t even go four blocks to the grocery store with out it.

But what happens when the car keeps having problems, and you keep paying for the problems, to the point that the band-aids are worth more then the whole car?

At what point do you just get sick and tired of wondering what fiasco each new day will bring with the car?

At what point do you get sick of structuring your life around whether or not the car will work, especially for those long hauls?

At what point does the cost of having a car outweigh the benefits?

At what point do you decide that there are too many cracks and problems, and you can keep taking it to the car fixers, and keep diagnosing the problems – but no matter how much money/time/tears you throw at it, you just need to say “enough” and get a new one? Or try to tackle life without one at all?

At what point?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

take it to done right...remember they were awesome..they didnt over charge us and they had the grand am fixed in no time

Megan said...

holy effing shit, that's funny. i can't even believe you remembered that. how on earth did i manage to forget about such quality work?!?!

Danni said...

Sorry to hear you were having car problems...
It royally sucks!

The Clyde said...

For me it was when for 3 months in a row I ended up putting over $800 a month into it ...I pretty much figured a high end car monthly payment would be half of that....plus you get new wheels so you get to be "that girl" for a while....

Anonymous said...

were you actually talking about your car? -ellie

Prin said...

In the end, you get rid of the car, get a better one and wonder why the hell you toughed it out with such a crap, good-for-nothing, unreliable, waste-of-space beater for so long.

And then you realize that now you have car payments. That's right, you have to put effort into this car.

But, you have to work for this car in a positive way (putting in the effort daily/monthly)rather than in a negative way (repairs in big chunks). Your new car gets you from A to B safely, reliably, comfortably and happily.

Your old car causes you stress, worry, anxiety, and honestly, it's just not there for you when you need it to be.

Cut it loose. There are too many awesome cars on the market to waste energy on a lemon.

Prin said...

Oh, and if you're tallying up pros and cons, it's time to move on.

You shouldn't have to make lists to figure out that the good outweighs the bad.

Megan said...

prin - i see what you're saying.

thing is, i usually advocate for doing the little things along the way so that the big catastrophes don't happen. things like regular oil changes, filter replacements, etc. in my opinion, if you take care of the small stuff along the way, they never develop into full-blown breakdowns later.

makes sense, right?

however, as painful as the inital hit is when a big problem happens (wiping out my checking account, if you will), the car seems to run better with the repairs. it gives me hope that it will continue to run well, and reminds me that i have to continue paying attention to the small things when they come up. so i want to keep investing in it, maintaining it, because like I said in the post - it has given me a lot of good miles, and I can't just dump it because sometimes it doesn't cooperate.

thus, if i treat it well, it will do the same in return. and there is something comforting about the old car, a car that you have come to depend on. getting a whole new one is such a huge ordeal, a massive undertaking in so many ways that right now i don't know how i will be able to manage that.

ugh. what a hassle. can you beleive i actually sat in the waiting room sobbing at this fiasco? lesson learned from all this? i need to grow some balls and ask for an estimate next time. standing my ground when it comes to my car is clearly not my strength.

Prin said...

But Megan, you can cover a lemon in sugar, and it'll always be a lemon.

Good cars don't break down.

Megan said...

Ah, but I have always had a weakness for lemonade.

I guess you could call it an addiction.

Prin said...

I prefer iced tea, myself. Or sometimes a good milkshake.

The Big Cheese said...

Don't listen to Prin...keep the old one.

Mommymeepa said...

Sorry about the car!! Missed meeting you at BIKE THE DRIVE!! It was a beautiful day!!

Andra Sue said...

"At what point?" Hate to say it, but I suspect the time is now. Go get yourself an iced tea and start looking at autos.msn.com. :(

Prin said...

Listen to Prin. She traded her beater in for a better (still used) awesome car. She knows what it's like. :D

Nytro said...

"At what point does the cost of having a car outweigh the benefits?"

Um... I believe that point is $5.00/gallon for gas.

Which is why I have the scooter.

Good luck with that.

The Young Family said...

Car trouble is never fun!

Em

Prin said...

You know, I've been thinking about it, and I think this whole analogy works really well for men too.

Sometimes, they're more trouble than they're worth, you know?

Just sayin'. :D