Thursday, June 16, 2005
I've been inspecting trinkets, levers, valves and fluids for months. My car is such a source of financial prolapse that I obsess over every clink, clank, and gurgle.
It doesn't help, really. The contraption still kicks, pops, and shudders into stillness at inopportune moments, draining my bank account and my will to live.
This morning, I pulled into the Gun World parking lot on Irving Park Road when my temperature gauge approached the orange tick. (Yes, orange. Red is so extreme, so Dodge opted for the safety color instead of the danger color. I try to stay aware of all the sly psychological manipulations thrown at me by modern society.)
Another overheat. I always carry one jug of antifreeze and two of water for this very emergency. The auto shops can locate no leak, the radiator appears to function normally, and the thermostat registers input without interruption.
In short, the disappearing fluid is a mystery and nobody can help me. So I remain vigilant.
As I killed the ignition and called work to announce my imminent tardiness, another red Intrepid pulled into the gun shop. The exact same car, almost. Smoke and steam billowed violently from beneath his hood, and he craned his head out the window to gain a view of the pavement before him. He'd waited far longer to pull over than I. I don't wait for explosions and ruptures before I halt to address my problems.
What a pair we made. People honked, people gawked, people chuckled. I waved back, proud to know that I was participating in a unique event in the annals of bitter humor.
I learned that his is a 96. Mine's a 95. Same body style, same color, same problem, same place, same time. He just had his transmission done recently, too. I know what you're thinking: "Sell the fucking thing! Get another car!" Not so fast. I still owe money on it. I know, I know. I'll buy foreign next time.
I hate cars. I wish public transportation extended to the suburbs.
For about three weeks a new disease has spread across the garish promotional landscape: the employee discount ploy. Instead of cash back, zero APR, no money down for six months, or ten year powertrain warranties, the new gimmick is the employee discount.
"You pay what Suzuki employees pay and not a penny more!"
"Get a Landrover today and we'll cut you in on the deal we offer to our own employees!"
"Get the Toyota employee discount and pay less for a 2005 model Toyota than ever before!"
Okay, fuck you. You liars. I've heard this sales pitch hop from company to company like crabs in a brothel, and I know why. Here's what you're telling me: "Don't just buy our product, join our family. You'll not only pay less, but you'll share the rates of exclusive insiders. We care about you. A lot."
When the time comes for me to get a car, I'm going to stride into a dealership and ask for a better rate than the employees receive. I'm going to ask for a family discount.
"If I was your son, how much would I pay?"
"Well, your daughter Jennifer told me that you're paying half of Christopher's payment each month on his 2005 Pontiac G6."
"Um...I... How do you know Jennifer?"
"I met her at Couchhouse last week. She's an animal. We're very close, Bob. Listen, I want a G6. It's a hell of a sexy car. Thing is, I've got nothing up front and my income is little shaky, know what I mean? So, uh, I'm figuring, you know, you could help me out here and there."
"Kid, get out of here. You probably think you're real funny, a real joker, right? Go away and stay the hell away from my Jenny."
"She's pregnant, Bob." 11:13 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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