Tuesday, April 8, 2008


My Toyota is for real on its last legs.  And to be entirely honest, I'm ready for it to die.  It's lived a long, fulfilling life.  257k miles of life, to be specific.  So, in honor of this money-absorbing hunk of metal I call a car, here are a few highlights from its life:

2 weeks after I acquired it: A friend of mine had come from North Carolina to audition for the music program at my school.  He stays with me for the night, and we get up early to get him to his audition to find "snow" on the ground.  There was all of 1/4" - and that's being generous - but unfortunately ice created a fun little slip and slide on the way to the school.  It took on the curb and lost miserably. $1200 later, we're up and running again. I use that term loosely.  Basically, it means that the wheels spin and it stops and goes when I tell it to.

End of last summer: I'm sort of notorious for leaving my lights on.  The Toyota's battery finally
 rebelled and ended its life.  I suppose they can only handle so many jump starts before it's just too much for them to handle anymore.  I made very good use of the AAA that my boss bought for me.

Early Dec.: On my way to a friend's house.  The brake light and battery light come on.  I was fairly sure that batteries were supposed to last more than a few months, and that my brakes were in working order, so I was perplexed. I make a few phone calls.  General assessment? We have no idea, ignore it it's probably nothing.  I turn off the highway.  Toyota starts making horrific clicking sounds.  After a few blocks, it putters and chokes it's way to a halt in a church parking lot. A cute couple with a daughter about my age stop and help me and my smoking, useless vehicle.  

Christmas: Midnight.  It's dark and cold.  I need gas.  I'm somewhere in Western, NC - and that stretch of highway is in desperate need of gas stations.  I finally find one - the only light off this exit.  I pull off and make my way into a parking space.  I'm surrounded by scary mountain people, one of which is the hunched old man taking out the trash.  I try to take my car out of park and it's stuck.  It will not shift.  I call mom and her transmission-specialist boyfriend, who can really do nothing for me. Scary old trash man comes to my aid, and finds a little hidden button called a "shift over-ride button".  I still have to push this button every time I shift my car out of park.

About a week ago:  Toyota starts shuddering horribly. Even more than usual.  Oil light comes on.  I make a note to add more oil asap, but stop at my bank first.  Oil is dripping, and leaving a rainbow-trail across the rainy parking lot.  I freak out, call M and make plans to go car shopping that afternoon, and head over to the gas station to add more oil, so I can make it home.  There is no oil cap on my car.  I apparently left it off when I added oil the day before, and without a cap, the engine had spewed what was left of the oil in it all over the inside of my car.  It still smells like it's burning up every time I drive it.

So Toyota, these are the memories you leave me with.  Several other cars have left their mark in my life - you will not be nearly as missed as Jeep Comanche or Saturn.  Goodbye.  I hope you can find your purpose as a hunk of scrap metal somewhere.

1 comment:

saga said...

Oh oil cap. I had a car that burned oil so bad I had to put 2 quarts in every time I filled up. Needless to say I lost my share of oil caps as well. The smell goes away haha.