Saturday, June 30, 2012


I put my foot on the clutch and started my car. Sweet. She still fires right up. It's a '95 Plymouth Neon. I don't know how many miles are on it. The speedometer works sporadically. If I drive in the snow or rain I end up with pools of water sitting in the backseat foot wells. I don't think I can get the spare tire out. Rusted in place. Oil consumption depends on how fast and how far I go it seems. Oh yeah, and the rear springs are broken and the front suspension is shot. Every pothole or bump creates quite the thump. I can't just pump gas in it either. Some part of the relief tube is not hooked up correctly and I have to trickle the gas in so it doesn't back flush all over me and the ground. She gets me where I need to get though.

I throw 'er into reverse and swing around to pull away. Shift into 1st and I'm off.

Whoa! Hold on! Something's not right.

Instead of my peppy little Neon taking right off she's all sluggish and I have to feather the gas and clutch to gain enough speed to shift into 2nd. First thing I think is one of the cylinders isn't firing. Need a tune-up. Bad.

Great. I had just made an appointment to get the brakes done. Had just scraped up the money. I'm going to have to use that money for the tune-up.

Yes, I suppose I could do it myself. Brakes are easy enough. A tune-up even easier. The problem? Tools. That and I haven't done anything like that in a long time. Never mind how long.

I've never been a big gear-head with cars. Sure I could buy the manual and follow the pictures and all that. I was never a tool collector either. Yes, of course I wish I had been. All the time. Instead I'll bring it in to a garage and let some guy earn his fifty and found. (That's $50 a month room and board. Oh, just Google it.)

The thing is though that as soon as I knew I needed to get a tune-up I knew our time together was coming to an end. I knew that I'd have to start pouring money in to it.

I was right too. I had the tune-up done and still needed the brakes done. And now other things were starting to break.

So I started looking for a new car. Not, you know, NEW new. Just something newer and safer.

I found an '03 Saab 9-5 Aero. Four cylinder 5 speed manual transmission with a lot of bells. Not sure about the whistles though. I went to the dealer a few times to look it over and read the Carfax. I still looked around to see if there was something else around that would be better and not so expensive to repair if needed. It was such a step up from what I had been driving for the last few years though I fell for it pretty quickly. I mean who wouldn't? It was a performance car with a stick. Performance tires and suspension. The the whole deal. And of course it was in so much better shape than my poor Neon.

I was feeling pretty good about my choice. I was arranging to get at some of my money so I could do the deed.


Until I talked to my mother.

I was talking to her one night about needing a car and what I was going to do about it. The next night she calls me and says she'd like me to have her car.

Whoa! Hey, wait! I'm a fifty year old man taking care of business the best way I could. I knew how to handle this. I didn't need my mother running to the rescue.

I won't tell you how old she is. She'd kill me. No, really. Let's just say that for a few years now the whole should she drive any more conversation has come up a few times.

Her car is a few years older than mine and in desperate need of detailing. Desperate need. And, you know, I felt like I was already, umm, spoken for.

I was really torn for a while. Free car. My own decision. Another possible clunker. A pretty decent car that I felt I wouldn't have to worry about for a while. My own person. My mother to the rescue.

I guess the thing is though, who would turn down a free car? I'm still unemployed. I could use some of the money to make sure that the car is in as good shape as it can be. I could use some to pay off some bills.

There's all of that. But then there's me learning to accept help. Take a helping hand when offered. That's always been a tough one for me. I'd rather suffer anything sometimes than ask for help. It's not pride. It's deeper and sillier than that.

The other thing is letting my mother help me. I've never asked for help from her in anything. This would make her feel happy to be able to do something for me.

So it wasn't so bad. I allowed someone to help me out and the sun did indeed come up the next morning. Although it will take a while to get used to driving an automatic again.

If you're anything like me you're willing to help out any way you can whenever you're asked. The thing you have to remember is almost everyone you know is just as willing to help you too. We'll all make it through this maze. Sometimes you just need a little help.

I'm pullin' for ya.


  1. I enjoyed this one. I'm in variably the same situation. Bought a car ( piece of crap that now sits in the driveway ) And with the problems at home right now it was good to hear a positive thing or two. Thanks !

    1. Thanks Chris. I'm glad it struck a chord with you. I'm sure things will get better.