Monday, April 7, 2014


So this is embarrassingly true and happened earlier this year:

As a seminarian I pretty much had to take whatever car was available.  When you are poor, the pickings are slim to non-existent.  One of my favorite cars was a 1979 Ford LTD that I drove (into the ground) in the late 90's.  Inside it was luxurious.  The front seat was as long as the davenport in your living room.  The outside of the car, however, looked as though it was stored in a wet salt mine.  Occasionally I would have to pull over and rip off whatever happened to be dragging along the road.
I remember being all excited that it has a cassette player in it and immediately ran in the house to get my tapes to drive around and listen to music.  But they didn't fit.  So I turned them the other way and they fell in.  It was then that I realized that it was a 8 track player.  I eventually sold that car for $50 which was twice as much as the junk yard offered.
So when I became a priest and would have some income I thought it would be a blast to go out and buy a car - one that I actually chose.  "Not so the wicked not so!"  It turned out to be one of the least favorite things I ever did.  So in future years I took to a tactic that was much more pain free.  I go into a dealer (they really are rather good to me) with a list of what I want in a used car and how much money I have and tell them to call me when they have the car they think I should have.  This was this time's list:
So they eventually called me with "the car."  It had a lot more gee gaws on it than I wanted.  I pointed at the dash and said, "See all this?  I don't want this."
"Ah Father," the dealer said back to me, "When you have leathers seats, all this becomes pretty much standard."
"But I don't want leather seats," I protested.  "I simply don't want clothes seats because the dog hair weaves its way into the fabric and is impossible to get out."
"Father," he said with an apologetic look, "this isn't the 70s.  There IS only clothe and leather."
So I got a car, which is a little more car than I wanted or had bargained for but I count my blessings.  And that's how I got a car that I barely even looked at before buying WHICH IS A DANGEROUS THING TO DO.  Maybe not for the reason you are thinking.  It is for this reason:


lgreen515 said...

Yes. I have this problem with rental cars. This is why the key fob has a red button marked "alarm."

Anonymous said...

you went to the wrong place to unload the '79 ford. there is this place on kenmore boulevard . . . I took a 15 year old '79 Datsun wagon with 217000 miles but not much rust to that place expecting to get less than 50 bucks. they gave me 65

r m kraus

Cathy said...

I have had so many car misadventures during my "salad days"...
...On spring break from med school, a tire shop refused to replace the muffler, calling my '63 Chevy Belair a "death trap". My Mom "flipped out" so we "up-graded" to a better-class junker which then promptly overheated on the Ohio Turnpike on the way back to school after total drive time of ten miles. The car was smoking so badly and appeared to be catching on fire so I was madly throwing out textbooks from the back seat, all of which were more costly than that car!
The dealer "kindly" took back that lemon--from the back of the tow truck--and for more money, sold me a pricier junker.
...And while driving that "beater" car, I got pulled over twice by the Highway Patrol: once right in front of the Perry nuclear power plant, in a thunderstorm, for suspicion of driving a stolen car! And then on the Turnpike for suspicion of being Patty Hearst! Ha! What times!
...In med school, with rotations through different hospitals, I was constantly walking parking decks, from top to bottom, searching for my car, especially after being on-call overnight.

Anonymous said...

I've had it with suspicious police officers. One of them targeted me while I was sitting and waiting in my car at Firestone High School to pick up my granddaughter and take her home. He came to my car, tapped on the window, I opened the window, and in a gruff voice said give me your drivers license . . . no explanation, just a pointed order . . and then he walked back to his patrol car. After a fifteen minute wait for something to happen I got out of my car and started walking toward the officer's car. Suddenly the officer jumps out of his car and shouts at me . . GET BACK IN YOUR CAR . . . another fifteen minutes goes by and he shows up at the window, hands me a citation for parking less than twenty feet from a crosswalk. And then he has the gall to tell me that he could have taken me into custody. NO THANKS TO THAT GUY

Unknown said...

That's a good anecdote. Well, it seems you are at a point where you can upgrade your car purchase, if the need arises. Should be a great opportunity to seize, so that you can get the advantages of modern car designs that make driving more streamlined and safe.

Rhonda Burgess