August 2nd, 2006

lips

Because wheels equal independence, and for no other reason

I've always had a car - well, where values of 'always' include the last 17 years, anyway. I can't think of a time when I haven't had a car. So, I'm used to the general maintenance expense that is the price of my independence. However, back in the day the maintenance expense was something like a set of tyres a year, lots of cleaning out of dust, the occasional thing rattling loose from the metal roads, and regular oil changes.

Things are kind of different since I moved to the city. I don't buy as many tyres, but I buy more brake shoes. I have to remember to lock it (this is something I really struggled with when I first came here). And the amount of incidental damage is phenomenal. I mean, the only time I damaged my vehicle in the sticks was when I hit a black cow round a blind corner at night - and that was a total write-off. Here, the amount of dings and scrapes you just pick up day-to-day is huge.

My most recent car, which I've had for two years, has been rear-ended twice, both front door locks are broken from some amateurish attempt to steal it, someone's snapped off one of the wipers, it's had a brick dropped on it that rolled down from the section above where it was parked. These are just the dings that I know how they happened. There's also been a mysterious smashed passenger side indicator light, and there are at least four small dents (big enough to have been noticeable if I were in the car when they happened) that I really have no idea how they got there.

Okay, so it's parked on the roadside. But it's locked, alarmed and has one of those lock thingies that goes on the steering wheel. And -still- people try to nick it. I mean, I know it's a pretty colour and has mags and a spoiler, but it's a fucking Lancer! Not a Porsche, not a 4WD, not a Legacy. It's a pootle-around liftback with virtually no resale value. I deliberately buy cars like this. So why do people keep trying to nick my car, then damage it in frustration when they can't?

So anyway, I was thinking about this last night, and I think I may make my next car something like a Lada. Something so naff that even the least discerning car thief won't want it, with big thick metal plates bolted on solidly so those people who don't know the dimensions of their own cars only damage their vehicle when they drive into it. Or maybe a Sherman Tank.

(no, selling my car and buying a bicycle is not an option - sorry to all those eco-people out there. i value my freedom to go/do as i please too much for that)

Anyway, I reckon it's costing me around twice as much to maintain my car these days, and the majority of that is in lost no-claims bonuses from the insurance company. On the upside, I'm on a first-name basis with the panelbeater. "Ah, yes, Wendy. Back for your regular appointment?" No, I don't have him on speed dial. Maybe I should..

*Yes I deliberately chose that icon because it shows me kissing my money goodbye...
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