Car problems are something most people can relate to. No one likes, them but we all have experienced them. I’m in that category lately.
Well, that’s not really true. I’ve been here off and on for years but Blue Magoo (my car) is in his final days. I bought him used from a friend and he has been a friend to me.
Blue Magoo, a 1995 Buick Regal GS, and I have been together since 2007. We’ve been through a lot. We made it through my first newspaper internship in St. Cloud, journeyed to Bowlus and survived three winters in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. There are people who have lived in Minnesota for years and still don’t know where Bowlus is. Well, we know it well. We discovered one of the coolest rock gardens in central Minnesota there thanks to an internship assignment. Good times.
After my internship in St. Cloud, I went back home to Ohio to finish graduate school. I went to Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. My family was about 40 minutes away, in Cleveland. At that time, I was an adjunct instructor in a suburb of Cleveland and worked as a graduate assistant at Kent State. Commuting was a big part of my routine. and I spent a lot of time in my car. We braved snowy Cleveland winters and rainy springs. He was reliable when I needed him most.
While we have had some good times, there have been some bumps. Those three Minnesota winters really tested our relationship. Nothing makes you wish you made a different friend choice than when the car freezes shut and you have to go to work, or decides not to start when I have an interview for a story that’s due for the next day’s edition.
Then there was the time the gear shift wouldn’t move from out of the park position while I was at work and I had to take a cab home. A reliable vehicle is kind of important when you have a job. I kind of think it’s a little bit more important when you’re a journalist. Yes, you can catch a cab to the city council meetings on the first and third Thursdays of the month in St. Joseph, but the fare will add up fast. One might be thinking, there’s always a rental option. That’s true, but when you have to pay about $30 per day that becomes an instant no-no as well.
Despite all the problems my car has delivered during the last five years, it’s hard to let it go, but I’ll have to in the coming months. The mechanic said the words I have dreaded but knew were coming: “Your car has reached the end of its useful life.” Then he suggested calling a salvage yard. I left the business at that point. I couldn’t hear anymore.
With as much money as I’ve spent on this car, I could have had two new ones already. When I think about all that money, I could just scream. So could my parents. They hate it, especially since they are miles away. I think it’s because they remember only the countless repairs. I remember those, along with the victories.
Even with all the worry it has caused me, I’m not eager to part with the car that drove me to my dream job, the city that’s become my home, the reggae-night event where I met my fiancé and the neighborhood where I outsmarted a bulldog to meet my news deadline. My father installed the CD player that plays Michael Jackson on both good and bad days. We share the dent on its right side due to an icy parking lot and the horn that gave out unexpectedly. It will be hard to say goodbye. After all, it’s my first car and was once a reliable friend.