Thursday, May 17, 2007

Car dilemmas

As published in The Long Island Advance, May 17th, 2007

I dislike what I’ve come to refer to as “car dilemmas” and decided a while back that I don’t really want to be a car owner. Thankfully my car has so far been very reliable and overall has not given me much of a problem. That was until my most recent oil change though, when the mechanic had me stand underneath it and showed me that yes, I did indeed have an oil leak.

Cars are not my thing. I’m sure that if I wanted to be good with them, I would be capable of it. After all, I’ve reached a point in my life when I’ve decided that I can be good at anything I choose. Never having been one who liked getting my hands dirty other then in garden soil, cars are not something I would ever choose to be good with though. I can check my tire pressure and put air in if need be. I can check my oil and add that as well. Anything other than that, I’m not interested in knowing about. This is much to the disappointment of my father, who I’m sure would love it if I took more of an interest in my vehicle, and who will often say to me, “So, how many miles do you have your car now?” With me usually responding by saying, “Hmmm…I don’t really know.”

I want to say this is not a female thing but I suspect it might be. Most of my female friends do not have any great understanding or interest in how their vehicles work and I have yet to run into a female auto mechanic. Before you jump all over me, let me just add that I’m sure there are wonderful female auto mechanics out there in the world, they just don’t inhabit my particular corner of it.

So far I’ve had to get new brakes, tires all the way around and replace the driver’s side mirror. Not bad considering it’s a seven year old car that I’ve had for two years. Yet, add up the car payment, insurance, maintenance and gas, and in my estimation, I’m looking at half a rent payment.

My only concern regarding transportation is that I get where I need to go with the least amount of drama possible, hence my love of public transportation and my desire to relocate to New York City. All you have to know how to do is buy a Metro card, swipe it at the turnstile and be able to read a subway and bus map, or sometimes in my case, have someone reliable you can call who can give you directions.

Yes, I know that public transportation can be smelly and hot in the summer and in the winter being crammed into a subway car filled with germs may not appeal to some, and yet for me, it would a relief. No more having to pump gas using the slow speed because my particular vehicle does not like it when you pump the gas fast, causing the pump handle to click off every fifty-cents worth. No more having to look at the tires and wonder to myself “Does that one look low?” because I can’t find the tire gauge. No more having to think about replacing the timing belt when I hit 90,000 miles or having to get the book out to remember how to change the time on the clock.

Moving to the city is not something to do just because I want to avoid car dilemmas, but it is a factor. I drive, a lot, and I’m tired of doing it. I want someone else to do the driving for a while. I like the idea of sitting with a book or my iPod and arriving at my destination relaxed and well read.

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