Saturday, June 4, 2011

My first car

I have to introduce you to one of my favourite new finds - Captchouli!  It's like an online version of Balderdash, hosted by Katie from Chicken Noodle Gravy and My 3 Little Birds.  I played for the first time last week and I won!  Hurray!!


My blog friends have been kind this week - on Thursday I got an awesome package of books from Natalie at My Blog is Boring for her giveaway.  Thanks Natalie!  It was so nice to find something in the mailbox other than bills.  Plus stupid Canada Post went on strike on Friday, so I got it just in time!

On to my Saturday musing...

My relationship with the automobile has been questionable from the start.  My earliest memory of a car is the interior of our green Beetle spinning around as I threw up from motion sickness around the age of 4.  Later I remember mind-numbing Sunday drives, when my parents would bore us comatose by driving around hoity-toity neighbourhoods and oohing and aahing at the houses we'd never live in.

I bought my first car for $3,000 cash.  It was a 13-year-old Acura Integra and perfect for a university student.  It ran like a brand-new car until the day the brakes began grinding.  My boyfriend (now husband) kept promising to take it in, but we were both busy and didn't understand the urgency of the situation.  The necessity of making time for car repairs no matter what was demonstrated to us when I pulled out of a shopping center, and my attempt to brake resulted in the sensation of a hot knife sliding through butter.  No resistance at all (haha what a ridiculous analogy!  But I digress...).

Miraculously I did not die or demolish the car that day.  When I was seconded to the big city on my second co-op term, I knew I should get a new car, but couldn't scrape together the downpayment the bank required.  So I went to the big city with my now 15-year-old car (one more reason money is important - safety!).

the culprit (note the infamous stairs in the background)

The firm had put me in a downtown hotel suite, but gave me a client in the suburbs, so I had to drive a fair distance back and forth every day in my elderly car.  One night at 11:30PM, I was about to turn out the night table lamp when the phone rang.  It was the front desk asking if I was the owner of the white Acura Integra.  "Yeesss....", I replied, wondering what on earth my car could have done without me in it.  I was asked to come downstairs, which ended up being quite a trek since the elevators weren't working.

I came out of the stairwell to find the lobby full of people.  As I made my way toward the front desk, I saw flashes of red light through the crowd and heard people whispering, "There's the owner!".  After the hotel manager introduced me to the fire captain (!), we crossed the yellow tape (!!) barring entry to the parking garage.  The metallic smell of gasoline was stifling - I could almost taste it.  One spark in there and the whole place would have gone up, no question about it.

My wretched car had been unable to handle the transition from a cold winter day to the heated parking garage with a full tank of gasoline, and my gas tank had ruptured.  Since I was parked in a dip in the parking garage floor, the entire tank had pooled underneath my car, creating a major fire hazard.  The elevators had been shut down to avoid creating a spark in such a combustible environment. 

The fire crews were working on cleaning up the mess, but the captain advised that I couldn't leave my car there.  They called a towing company for me, but the guy didn't show up until 3:30 in the morning!  By the time he got there, I was so exhausted, humiliated and pissed off that I just gave him the pink slip and told him to take the damn car away.  My first car and I were done.

Tell me your first car stories - anything crazy like this?

Day 27 of the 30 day music challenge is a song that you wish you could play.  I love this song, but I can get through about three bars of it.  Here's Alla Turca by Mozart:

12 comments:

  1. Love your taste in music. As for cars, well, you must have had a secret desire to cuddle mechanics. :D I had a little old green bug. Maintenance on that one was my threat to take it to a car dump. It didn't dare do anything silly and ran perfectly for me. I heard it died soon after the new owner forgot to issue threats. We in Canada have to be a hardy bunch...

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  2. So sorry for your car mishaps. Most my cars have been dependable and when they weren't it my own fault. One time my brakes were getting bad but I kept putting off getting them fixed eventually the brakes just fell out of my car. Thank God I was in a parking lot.

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  3. wow.... now that is just horrible! Man, thats crazy. Sorry to hear about it.
    I don't have any crazy car stories. My first car was a car my grandparents gave me and my brother to share when I was a senior in HS and we called it the Ghetto Enterprise...lol..I have no idea why. It was an old person's car so it wasn't cool but it was a Chyrsler LeBaron

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  4. Great car story. My forst was a 10 year old Vauxhall Nova with a faulty fuel guage, I had to drive arounf with a can of petrol in the boot just in case.

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  5. I guess it isn't *that* crazy, but the wiper fluid squirty thing broke in my first car. I drove around with a spray bottle of wiper fluid and if things got really messy, I'd stick myself out the window and douse everything good and proper. Only time I ever prayed for red lights. :)

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  6. OH. MY. GAWWWD!!!That is definitely equal parts funny (now, of course, probably not so much at the time) and SCARY! Great story!

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  7. My first car was a '94 Olds 88 Royale. She was a pain, air didn't work well and neither did the radio. One day she died in the middle of the street. We took her in to the repair shop. It took them days to figure out the problem. Apparently all the wiring for the electric windows and locks was melted together under the console. I was told it should have blown up when I started it.

    Your story is slightly terrifying. I can't imagine seeing that come from my car... Glad you're ok!

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  8. Wow, that is a crazy story! I think most people have those horrible first car experiences, although my first car never came close to lighting on fire!

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  9. New follower from Say Hi Sunday blog hop, Love your post on your competition, way too funny! I had a young gentlement come in for a job at a Humane Society and when I showed him the "puppy room" he said OH you got to clean their LITTER BOX? Yikes needless to say he was not smart enough to work with dogs and cats!
    http://frugalfulfillment.blogspot.com/

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  10. I had such a piece of shit car as my first car. A 1986 Pontiac 6000 LE. It was so banged up! Things were always breaking on it. One night the engine blew up on me. I sold it for $400 and it broke down on the people as they drove off with it! I just prayed really hard hoping they didn't come back.

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  11. Dang, girl! That's quite the car tale. Both the brake situation and the tank rupturing had to be pretty scary stuff.

    My first car was an Acura Integra, too. The only really interesting story I have about it involved getting stuck on a railroad track in it. Thankfully, a train didn't come along before I got unstuck.

    Congrats again on winning Captchouli! Your entry was awesome :)

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  12. My first car was a 1983 baby blue diesel Mercedes, complete with ivory leather and a sun roof. My parents bought it for $1800 and told me I'd be making payments to them monthly. The car was a manual, which I didn't know how to drive, so Daddy said he'd drive it around for a few weeks to make sure it was mechanically sound (it was 15 years old), and then he'd teach me to drive it. "Meanwhile, here, you drive my car," he said. His car was a 1992 ford escort station wagon.

    I never drove the Mercedes. Dad decided after a few weeks that he really loved that car, so I got to finish paying off the station wagon - to the tune of $2300. :(

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Lend me some sugar!