Friday, March 23, 2012

Goodbye Ol' Paint

As she looked in better days

Well, it finally happened. Roger replaced his old car --the 1992 Corolla - with a 2010 Nissan Versa. I no longer have any excuse for holding on to my 1994 Corolla.

My excuse for holding onto it was ---"If Roger's old beater breaks down, or needs to spend a lot of time in the shop ---then he can drive my old beater." A car with no driver's side window, no AC, and arthritic transmission, is better than no car at all. In vehicular math, two old beaters is about equal to one good-running car, so I figured between them and my Civic, we'd always have wheels.

But now Roger has a new car. He's got some out of town gigs and will be driving to South Dakota and Nebraska, and I'm glad he has something reliable, that can accomodate his keyboard. And yay--I can finally stop covering the window of the '94 Corolla with trashbags and duct tape. I can get rid of the darn thing.

Which doesn't bother me. Why should it? A car is not a person. It would be outrageous to feel sad about it, when human life is so fragile, and the potential loss of people we hold most dear is a cruel reality and an ever-present threat. Getting choked up about an old car go would be ridiculous.

Why, being free of that rust-bucket is a relief. No more eyesore in the driveway. The $18 a month I spend on insurance---that's like four lattes, or two movie tickets, or a blouse at the consignment shop, or 18 mp3 downloads! I can really live it up with the extra cash.

And how do you like this: the tag renewal was due at the end of this month. There's another $63.00 I won't be spending. Ca-ching!

 And get this! Carmax offered me $300 for it, which is the maximum book value for a 1994 Corolla in poor condition. And I didn't have to fix it or clean it or anything!

So it's a no-brainer.  Take it away! Haul it off. It's Carmax's problem now, not mine.

 But of course, against all logic, I feel sad to part ways with the old jalopy. We've had it for 15 years. Maybe the longest I've owned anything. My kids have been riding in it since they were babies. We may have even brought Lilah home from the hospital in it (neither one of us can remember for sure).

We definitely brought Annabelle home in it. I labored in it for four hours, in Peekskill, NY, after the midwife examined me and said I had hours to go, and why don't we kick back and kill some time, like go to lunch or something, go to the park...and we went to the park, but only because within minutes of leaving the midwife's office, my pain had grown to the point where all I wanted was to curl up on the floor and grab hold of the seat.

We made our epic move from New York to Kansas in that car and drove the kids to western Kansas and back countless times. Their DNA is ground indelibly into the car's interior. Which, by the way, is made of cloth that is a nice, soft, chocolate brown, of a quality that I haven't seen in any of the recent cars. Today's cars are smarter and safer, but they still seem more flimsy and plastic-y by comparison. That 1994 Corolla was a machine.

Was. Because after it's auctioned off, lord knows how its parts might be divided and devoured.

But it's just a car, for pete's sake. An 18 year-old heap sporting rust.

Roger's 1992 Corolla is still with us, because its automatic transmission makes it a perfect car for driving practice, which is the intent of our soon-to-be 15 year-old daughter who has her eyes on a learner's permit. (Eeeks!).

If the '94 Corolla had been an automatic, maybe we would have kept it instead. 


  1. I believe the trick is to lease cars. That way you usually don't tend to get too attached before it's time to swap it out for a brand new one.
    I bought a brand new car back in 1984...first one, ever. (It's still in the garage)
    As to the impending driving lessons...I'm a firm believer in teaching my students to drive a manual transmission. Anybody that can drive a stick can drive an automatic. It is also an important skill to have should you ever get stuck and need to drive whatever might be available. I taught my step daughter to drive a stick and that was her first car. Twice, the car was broken into in an attempt to steal it, but it was apparent that the wanna'-be-thief had to give it up after a few failed attempts at driving a manual transmission car.

  2. H.B.,

    I love manuals. And I like your idea of teaching new drivers a stick. But it seems like learning to drive is hard enough, without throwing a stick shift into the mix. Let me put it another way --I think I'll be stressed out enough over Lilah's learning curve, without having her deal with a stick shift too.

    Now, I wanna know --what kind of car from 1984 is that in your garage?

  3. holy hell, if i had to sit in the passenger side in traffic in johnson county while my kid was learning to drive a stick, i would have to drink heavily and the last time i checked, i believe they sort of frown on that.

    simone, believe it or not, i have fond memories of our (mis)adventures in that car. ah, yes, and i remember having to roll down the window to open the door....good times, good times

  4. I've only taught two kids to drive...started both at 14 in parking lots. I made sure they were both proficient with the tranny by the time they were in a position to risk lives. For about a year before they were ready to hit the streets, when driving with them in the car, I maintained a continuing commentary on all of the decisions/observations required as you motor around. It made them aware the massive amount of data analysis that goes into the process.

    I am proud to say that neither of them have had accidents. On weekends I also have the conflicting pleasure of watching, on TV, some of my racing school students competing at the professional level. (I'd rather it were them watching me,'s that age thing.)

    I am a victim of a fascination with anything with a motor and wheels. If I could have spent my life without racing and buying new cars, I would have been able to retire in wealthy splendor at the age of 30.


    BTW - 1984 Porsche

  5. I knew you raced, but i didn't know you taught racing as well! Pretty cool. So the 1984 is a Porsche ---no wonder. I'd hang onto that too!

  6. Outer Space AlienApril 8, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    b37 model ship has many tears when it goes. We big for your "duck tape" and steal it often for to keep the warp drives going. Many good memories, then we pushed it into the sun. Goodbye friend b37!