The car that I bought last November is headed for the junkyard. It’s only a matter of time.
The look on the mechanics face told me something was tragically wrong before he even said any words.
“Bad news Miss. Merry.”
He walked over to me in the cushy Hyundai dealership waiting area. “You’re pistons are shot, especially in cylinder 4, which is where that noise you heard was coming from. You might not even be able to get it home today or it might last you another month or so. You need a new engine at the cost of $3,000, so might I recommend a trade in? One of our salesmen would love to help you get a new or used automobile!”
I sat in shock for at least 30 seconds, staring out of the window at my soon to be departed car. They had already taken it off of the lift.
“My credit is shit and I’m on a fixed income,” I replied slowly. (Yes, I did actually use the word shit.)
A nod. “Oh, I understand. But our guys here do miracles for people, are you sure?”
“Yes, it would be a waste of my time, seriously. The highest car payment that I could possibly afford is $100 and even that’s cutting it close.”
“Well,” he responded, “the car is safe enough to drive, but the engine will fail. I just cannot predict when that will happen. I’m really sorry.”
I felt numb. I managed a smile anyways. “Thanks.”
So I got into my car and drove it home. I remained numb and calm until evening approached. Then I became depressed and severely pissed the fuck off.
I went to bed early because I just wanted the day to come to an end.
It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Here I was trying to be responsible and take it in soon after I noticed the “cha-cha cha, shee-shee shee” sound that it started making about two weeks ago instead of just ignoring it (procrastination is one of my specialties).
It’s weird having a car that still runs, but with a terminal diagnosis. Usually my cars are just DOA and that’s that. End of the line.
So I’ll drive it into the ground and try to save up some money somehow so that I can hopefully replace it. It’s the only option that I have.
I survive benefit to benefit from the gov and there’s not much at the end of the month to stuff away.
I usually take being poor rather well. I live a simple life, I’m careful with the money that I do have. I make sure that my bills are paid, that I have a roof over my head and food to eat.
But when disasters strike, for example when a washer or hot water tank breaks, I’m basically screwed. It’s a horrible feeling to be so helpless.
Having a car, to me, means freedom and independence.
The mechanic told me to stay local and only drive it when I absolutely need to, like going to the drugstore to get my medications or grocery shopping, various doctor appointments and things like that.
Perhaps if the good Lord sees fit, he’ll give me a few more months before it takes its final mile.
I know it’s just a car, but for me and millions of others in this world, it’s just another plight of being poor.