5 Ways My Car Builds Character


I have always had cars that built character. I have written about my 1989 Cutlass Cierra that I drove in high school. Friends had to jump out while my car was still in drive because if I put it in park, it would shudder and die.

It also had a headliner, that if it fell just right, you wouldn’t be able to see anything in front of you.
My whole family is this way. We drive cars forever. My dad drove his Dodge Ram Charger for 15 years or longer. My husband’s last car, a hand-me-down-from-his-Dad Dodge Intrepid, was bartered with the lawn guys. We gave them the car and they cut the grass 10 or 15 times for free.
We eventually went to sharing a car, which meant I took my husband to the large park-and-ride where he got to listen to one bus driver say “I promise not only to get you downtown as fast as possible but also as SAYFT as possible” and one bus driver make advances toward him. (That story was in the post “Is My Husband Having An Affair?”: http://tiny.cc/uxpj6w ).
My current car is no different. Well, it’s an SUV. Can we just call it a car? What do you call an SUV? An SUV? Why would you do that sort of thing?
Let’s talk about my SUV’s character building features:
#1 It’s a Hyundai SUV. I had to get that out of the way first. “Hyundai” is not a new, inventive spelling of Lexus. It’s a straight up HYUNDAI. My husband researched cars and SUVs a lot before we made the purchase and I just remember him saying “improved”, “better now” and “value” a lot. Still, when we first got it, people would ask what we purchased, I would tell them and then they’d say “Oh, a Honda, huh? I’ve driven a Honda for years! I looooove the Hond-” to which I would have to reply back with “No, we got a HYUNDAI.” They’d always say “Oh.” or “Oh?” or something equally telling. It doesn’t help that it isn’t easy to say, really. It’s not like HONDA or TOYOTA or FORD. It’s HYUNDAAAAAIIIII. I feel like Mr. Miyagi with his little green trees when I talk about it.
#2 It’s a 2008. We don’t trade cars in when the cars start looking like they aren’t brand new anymore. We drive them until they yell “GET RID OF ME ALREADY!” right into our faces. It has 128,108 miles on it. A five-year old car isn’t that old. I just know that it is just getting started as a part of our family.
#3 The middle console does this right in the middle of driving unless you pin it down with your elbow.

And, hello.
It is straight up in the air showing off it’s Tears For Fears Greatest Hits CD.
I always have to warn people that Mr. Console may rear his ugly head during the trip. I don’t want anyone suing me for any heart attacks.
#4 The snake. This is probably the worst of them all. It will come out to bite you at all the wrong times, such as when Ms. We’ve-Got-To-Keep-These-Cars-Movin’ is working the car rider line. It’ll pop out, which will make the door hard to close behind the kids as she waits and waits for them to get them and all their stuff inside. She is left trying to close the door while I call from the driver’s seat, “I’m sorry…[SLAM!]…that door is hard t…[RE-OPENS THE DOOR]…to close. It som…[SLAM!!!]…sometimes gets stuck…[RE-OPENS IT AGAIN]…like that. [SLAMS IT AGAIN]. Thank you.” Sometimes that car door will improve the situation with an I-Need-WD40 squeak, which always makes my heart proud.

(We have actually gotten the snake replaced once or twice. We live with his snakey ways now. It has actually been good this week, knock on Hyundai metal.)
The bright spot in that car rider line is that right after I meet Ms. We’ve-Got-To-Keep-These-Cars-Movin’, I will see Mr. The-Nicest-Man-In-The-School- With-One-More-Thing-To-Tell-You. He is the last person you see as you drive off, which is wonderful. He is really friendly and always has a nice word or piece of news to share. Sometimes he shares it as I’m driving away and then I feel bad. He never seems to remember that, though.

#5 The stickers. I know the stickers yell to passerbys “SHE’S GIVEN UP ON HER CAR!! SHE IS ONE OF THOSE KINDS! I BET SHE HAS A SELF-ELEVATING CONSOLE!” When my 5-year-old put most of those stickers on there, I didn’t see him do it behind me. I don’t always do a “grape job” at seeing everything they do. I now have let him add a few more. I figure he is sort of building a sunscreen. I will take them off one of these days. Maybe.

     Can you see the “grape job” sticker?

 Maybe I should be more thankful for these character building cars in my life. What I would be like today if I had only the best all the time? Okay, you’re right. I wouldn’t be any different. Can you just go along with me here? Trying to find a silver lining amongst the squeaky doors and hanging headliners.

How about you? Any character building qualities in your vehicles?


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