Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Tribute to My Little Deathtrap

I have recently suffered a loss. It is a frivolous loss, to be sure, but a loss nonetheless that has shaken me up. After roughly 3 years of driving it around personally and x amount of years riding in it, my Ford Taurus (a.k.a. My Little Deathtrap) finally kicked the bucket.

It wasn't a great car, to be honest. My mother drove it before me for years and then she got a Vibe and through some weird lines of succession, the oldest child inherits the crappier car. The brakes were never great, I had to learn to start breaking a lot sooner than I would in anyone else's car. There always some sort of mutant squealing noise coming from under the hood that caused pedestrians to turn and look at us, both in awe and disgust. Ah, the memories. Here are a few highlights of this car's life under my care (which probably led to it's early demise).

-During the winter of my sophomore year, I was driving to class with my roommate Helene. It was very icy and our apartment complex was on a hill. Coming down around a curve I started sliding and before I knew it My Little Deathtrap was sliding sideways down a hill. Rather than scream or anything, Helene and I stayed perfectly still (she in fact held a spoonful of yogurt in midair as we slid) until we slid to a stop. When we approached a red light at the bottom of the hill I realized I was sliding yet again, and was going to crash into the car stopped at the light. So, not really thinking, I pulled into the other lane (where cars come AT you) and slid right past the other car onto the main road in one quick movement. We laughed through our fear.

-My friend Mara and I once ordered Chinese food before driving off to see a show (Suessical, I'm afraid). We ate all our food but threw the trash in the backseat (we were rushing). A few days later I noticed my car smelled HORRIBLE. Like a dog died in a garbage bag full of human flesh that stayed out in the sun too long. I eventually located the source: there was broccoli in the Chinese food trash. I don't like broccoli. There's no way something that smells like THAT can be good for you.

-On my first day moving into a new apartment complex my Junior year of college I had to go to the main office to get something, probably keys or some shit. Upon leaving the office parking lot I turned right to go to my apartment...and cut the turn too tight and scraped a medium sized brick fence. The bricks collapsed (no one ever learned it was me) and was eventually rebuilt. Deathtrap got a scratch on her that is still there to this day. Battle scars.

-Senior year, coming back from a trip to Erie with my cousin we got stuck in a traffic jam. She was driving a truck and it was kind of cramped. I had a small claustrophobic attack from being in the traffic jam but eventually we made it back to Washington PA so I could pick up my car I'd left in the Walmart parking lot. Upon getting there, I knew I had to buy some windshield wiper fluid because a BLIZZARD was coming. I bought the fluid after saying bye to my cousin and poured it into my car. Then I realized: I'd poured it into the antifreeze tank. Worried that if I started driving my car it'd blow up, I started to panic thinking the blizzard would surely take my life and I'd die in Washington, PA. I finally got a hold of my uncle who told me, essentially, to calm down and that everything was fine. It was.

-Winter in general was a rough time for My Little Deathtrap. In addition to the aforementioned sliding on the ice, the doors would often freeze closed...or open. When they froze closed I would heat up some water and pour it on the cracks of my doors. It was kind of trashy looking, but it did the trick. But then somehow my doors would freeze open. As in, would not latch so whenever I went around a corner I would have to LET GO OF THE WHEEL and grab the door. I finally wised up and started tying my seat belt around the door handle, which did the trick but the light would keep flashing over my head and the car would keep dinging. I swore a lot in the winter.

-Once, Mara, my sister, and our friend Darby drove from Moundtown to Pittsburgh to see a show. After getting Darby I hit a pothole that went deep into the mouth of Hell. By the time we got to Pittsburgh, that tire was crazy flat. They've covered that pothole since, but I still live in fear of it.

-Over the years my dad has had to make a few repairs to this car. While I know NOTHING about cars, my dad knows a bit more but I question some of his methods. The most questionable being using a garden hose piece (and some duct tape) to replace the wiper fluid tubing. Yeah.... If you're wondering: no, it doesn't work well.

-After my first show working at the PPT, I was driving home at around 10:00 PM. While driving near the Strip District I got a flat tire. I pulled over into a parking lot and tried to put the spare on. I couldn't. So I called AAA and told them I needed a tire change. After waiting an hour and a half in the FREEZING COLD a truck came and the driver informed me he couldn't get it off and it would have to be towed. I waited another hour for a tow truck. He took me to what would eventually become my recurring Goodyear location. He told me Highland Ave wasn't a great place to leave your car at night. I informed him I left my car there every single night. He didn't offer me a ride home. I ran home down the dark cold street to my house, ran to my room and stayed there for at least a day.

-In one of her last missions, My Little Deathtrap drove my friend Chelsea to her other job....on Saint Patrick's Day. She handled it like a champ, weaving in and out of cars and drunk bitches without killing hardly anyone.

-Once I had to jump my roommate's car in a Giant Eagle parking lot. Like, the middle of a parking had to push her car out into the road so the jumper cables would reach our vehicles. After we did she told me "we just both need to get rid of our cars". One week later, my car died. If nothing else I follow through.

-And now, the story of her passing. I was seeing a movie with my friend Ryan and on our way back I got my dumb ass lost. I went to turn around in some middle of nowhere place when the car just died. Like stopped running, power steering gone. I managed to start her up again but she was shaking violently. Eventually called AAA yet again to get a tow truck, and my roommate Bethany to drive Ryan back to his house. While waiting for them, a cop car drove by and told me to "watch myself, this is a shady area". I said "thanks, I'll take my flamethrower out of the glove box". I finally got the tow truck to my trusty Goodyear. AAA paid for the first three miles and I had to pay for the rest. We drove 10 miles. I watched my driver take out his phone to subtract 3 from 10 and get 7. Not kidding. Harsh trade, isn't it? I know nothing about cars, but can do second grade math.

When I got to Goodyear the next day, I was told to "sit down over there, I'll get Bob". Oh shit. No one ever calls on their manager in a Goodyear to tell you everything is going to be fine. It's like a hospital. Bob came out and said "the engine is shot. It's been leaking antifreeze into the water valve" or something like this, all I heard was "you are so FUCKED". He told me to replace everything would be around $2,500 or I could get a Goodyear car. I asked to go home and "think about it" which meant "go home and lose my mind in a panic". After discussing it over with parental figures (ma still owes the car) we decided it was best to cut her lose. Originally I was going to give her over to Goodwill (yeah, that's a thing) but then a man who works at Goodyear offered to take her off my hands for $100. I know that isn't a lot, but screw it: it'll get the little burden out of my life and will cover what Goodyear charged. Yeah, it costs $100 for them to tell you your car will never start again. Makes sense right?

So there it is, the end of an era. Now entering the era of bus passes and walking. If you read this whole thing, good for you you can be my friend. If you ever had the privilege/terror of riding in My Little Deathtrap, I hope you remember the memory fondly. I'd share more memories, but I'm tired. And I have to wake up early to catch the damn bus.

1 comment:

  1. I totally remember the story of you & helene, and remember having to sleep on your couch so someone would wake me up in the morning so I wouldn't miss class lol. I also remember the horrific never-should-be-mentioned seusical. the bus isn't all that bad :)