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OK so tonight I was driving home and on my way home I saw a piece of shit car on the side of the road, presumably broke down and a young girl crying on the side of the road. And then it hit me--- I should post about my first car! It was an experience! It was awesome! It was hilarious!
It was a 1988 Ford Taurus, light blue. Very similar to this but my car had a few more dents and obviously had a back window full of stickers. The stickers that were my favorite were obviously my Tool, Sublime, Drop Kick Murphy's, Rancid, and Pantera stickers. I also had a sticker that said "Stupid People Shouldn't Breed" and a few tribal looking stickers. Oh- and I had a "Thank You For Not Smoking" sign in each of my back windows which I blatantly stole from Dairy Queen. And I had them on my windows while I worked at Dairy Queen. Management either didn't care or needs their vision checked.
I remember I was 17 when I got the car. My parents would not have gotten me one but in my senior year of high school I did this work study thing where I went to school for a half day (morning) and then left for the day to work at the School District of Superior Administrative Office. Well it wasn't on the bus route, I only was allotted 15 minutes to get there and my mom wasn't about to give me a ride every day.
So they brought this gem home one day. My car payment was $150 a month and we paid something like $2500 for the thing. Now at first, I hated it. All of my friends had better cars than me but my parents had no money for this kind of thing. I mean, they were making me pay for it on my own.
I remember filling the tank and almost throwing up when it took $15 to fill it. Now I'm lucky if my van lets me fill it for less than $60. The perks of the car was that it had electric everything. Ford knew what people would want even back in 1988. The seat moved up and down and back and forth. I had electric locks and power windows. I could open my hood, truck, gas tank, everything with fun levers. The speakers were AWESOME. Which, is astonishing in a piece of shit car with over 100,000 miles, but they were loud. And everyone heard me coming. For Christmas one year I got a CD player for my car and had it installed at Best Buy who fucked it up. I hit a small bump and my entire dash fell apart. While I was driving. I was so pissed and my dad scared the shit out of the 19 year old punk who "installed" it when we took it back. But driving without a dash and seeing everything in your dash is disconcerting.
My first real trip in the car was to Duluth- to the mall. Obviously. I was going over the bridge when I realized I couldn't go over 40 mph. Like 40 was pushing it and the bridge speed limit is 55 which means 70 here, and yeah. I almost died on the bridge. I make it as far up the hill as I can doing 20 mph when I decide I can't go any further. I stop at a grocery store, call my dad. Dad tells me I'm an idiot and that I have to drive it back because there is no way they are paying for a tow. Great.
So I get back on the bridge doing 20. What is normally a 20 minute drive for me took me almost two hours and I was almost killed. I can't tell you how many people honked or gave me the finger. I can't blame them, I would have done the same. It turned out to be a spark plug. Or something. So my dad and the neighbor, who fixes cars for a living, put in "temporary" spark plugs in.
Now, I'm not mechanically inclined at all and call my brother who works at a tire shop if I have any problems and basically rely on other people to help me if something breaks. But even I knew that "temporary" doesn't sound good and they had no idea how long they'd last. I never ended up changing them again in the entire 3 years I had the car.
But I replaced EVERYTHING else except the engine on the car. At least twice. That bitch was in good hands. I spent more money on that vehicle in three years than I paid for it. Seriously.
The most memorable repair was the radiator. For weeks I thought my engine was running hot. It made weird noises and it felt sluggish. It was winter, so it was usually well below zero (temperature wise outside) so my dad told me that's why. Well, I'm usually right, so I brought it to the mechanic. The kicker was one morning when I turned the car on, a weird cloud of green puffed into the car. Seriously. My windows felt slimy on the inside. Now, even though I'm not mechanically inclined even I know THAT isn't normal.
When they looked at it (the mechanic) they all laughed. Hard. For at least 30 minutes. My radiator? Had a hole the size of softball in it. Plain as day. The anti freeze turned to Jell-O and it looked like a fucking potluck picnic up in there. $400 later, The Beast is running again. After awhile I dreaded going for oil changes because every time, something would break. I had a running tab at the mechanic for three years. I still had to pay on it six months AFTER I got rid of the car. The transmission didn't need to be replaced but you had to flush it every 9 months otherwise it would run like shit and sound like it was going to just drop out of the car. My blinkers stopped working once. Then the serpentine belt or whatever the belt in those cars are called snapped off, while driving. That was fun. The thing that holds your antifreeze cracked. The jug that holds windshield fluid cracked and gushed fluid out after I went over railroad tracks. The dashboard was never the same and would usually fall apart if I went over a bump. Lots of tape and glue. I can't even tell you how many times that piece of shit failed to start and made me late for work. The defrosters were a 50/50 chance and forget air conditioning. Or heat for that matter.
The other thing aside from numerous repairs were the rear endings. I was rear ended a LOT in that car. And I have witnesses for all but one and all of those witnesses will testify that it was not my fault. Once, I got rear ended by Mrs. Liebaert, my former biology teacher, while picking my brother up from high school. Her car was damaged but out of embarrassment I never stopped. But then my bumper had so many dents it didn't matter. Once I was parked, in a parking lot, waiting for my brother to come out when a guy, out of nowhere, barrels into my bumper.
The worst was on a January morning, there was an ice storm and I had to bring Travis to school. We were running late so I went in my pajamas which consisted of a pair of pink shorts with bunnies on them, my Doc Marten boots, and a Cherry Poppin' Daddies t-shirt. And a zip up hoodie. I had dropped Travis off and was driving down 21st street and a guy, slammed on his brakes on sheer ice- slammed into me. That time I almost killed a mom in the other lane with a car full of kids but was able to steer out of her lane. The guy's car put a huge hole in my bumper. He also gave me false information so I could never get it fixed. I would have called the cops, but the chances of them coming before I died of hypothermia was slim to none.
I ended up getting rid of the car in 2001 and got a 1998 Chevy Lumina, white. We called her Sally. She was great. But I was sad to see The Beast go. I gave him to my brother who promptly killed it within the year. Poor Beast. That car was such a piece of shit but you know what? I felt safe in that thing. Even though everything was falling apart, I was confident that if I hit something head on, I'd survive. Sure, the airbags were probably rotted if they were even really in there, but the car itself was a tank. Virtually indestructible. Well, until Travis got it. Then it was just a matter of months.
Lots of good memories in that car though. :)
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