Friday, December 9, 2011

Heading For That Big Garage In The Sky

My car is currently sitting in a large puddle of its own oil and coolant on my driveway. That magnificent purple whelping dragon of a car got me home one last time before completely dying. I had just picked my daughter up from daycare and, when I put the car in gear, the engine shook so hard that it reverberated through the entire car. My daughter asked what the sound was, and I replied that it was the sound of the car being mortally wounded. As I drove away, I could see a trail of oil behind us in my rear-view mirror. I knew this was the end.

About this time two years ago, my car started to act like an old woman afflicted with severe health problems. It started burning oil and hesitating when shifting into the higher gears. I had it looked at and was told that I would be lucky for it to last another six months. It lasted another 18 months past that mechanic's prediction. It wasn't an easy two years, though. The car had a number of minor issues creep up. The driver's side windshield wiper seldom worked despite numerous mechanics looking at it. The driver's side seat belt sensor would intermittently go out, causing the seat belt light to blink on the dash. The RPM indicator would spontaneously cut out at highway speeds and would go into seizures once I killed the ignition.

Late last week, I noticed that the car was leaking coolant like a sieve,oil was leaking into the coolant reservoir and the whole mixture was leaking through the pressure cap. I had been prepared for this. I knew that it was indicative of either a blown head gasket or a cracked block. I did my best to keep the car running. I elected to keep my car trips to a minimum and filled the engine with coolant and oil before running it across town. It didn't do much good and it kept running hotter with each trip. When it finally gave out, it was still able to limp me home before giving out.

Had I been given a choice, a Saturn SL-1 wasn't something I would have bought for myself. I ended up saddled with it after my divorce while my ex got the "cool" car. Still, my Saturn was a good car and gave me ten years of dedicated service. I'm not usually one to personify inanimate objects, but if my Saturn had been a woman, I imagine that she would have been very much like the kindly old nanny who helped look after me when I was a child. Although she was obstinate and difficult to deal with, she always stuck by me, took care of me, and made sure I got home alright.

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