“So, did you drive here?”
Dean, hoping for a ride after a few drinks, asks innocently. But I’m stung by the memories brought to the surface.
“No. I don’t have a car anymore — I had to give it away.”
Dean had heard nothing about this. “Christ, man. I know that there were some problems but, why?”
“It just wasn’t working. I wanted to go out and it wanted to stall in the driveway.”
“Yeah, well anyway, you never did look right in it — too much vehicle for you to handle. You need something that is economical and will last for more than a few weeks.”
“Is it my fault that these cars keep breaking down on me?”
Dean senses my victim state of mind.” Of course not.Shit, how were you supposed to know these cars were all fucked up? I mean, you could have never known what’s going on under the hood. All I’m saying is there might be a pattern somewhere in there. Maybe you don’t really want a car that’s going to last. Maybe you should give rentals a try.”
“You think that deep down this is what I really want? That’s pure shit. I’m not looking for a car that gives me more headaches than mileage. And there’s no way I’m paying for each ride.”
“Okay. Fine. Why don’t you just accept that you and cars just don’t mix?”
“And go back to walking? I walked for the first sixteen years of my life. I tell you… walking is a lonely thing. Have you ever been spotted walking by friends who were driving by? It’s embarrassing. Besides, I’m spoiled now. Once you take the first spin behind the wheel, the only time you want to walk is when you’re bored and there’s nothing better to do.”
“Alright then — how about, starting tomorrow, we go find you a new car? I know some places where we can find some nice pieces of machinery.”
“Well, I do need to move on. Hey, why don’t I call dealer with all the commercials on late night TV?”
Dean shakes his head. This is your problem. You’re going to seedy dives hoping to find a rare gem buried underneath the trash but you’re only getting cars that are meant to be there — cars that look good on the lot but under the lights of a city street show signs of use and abuse. These aren’t the types of vehicles that will be there for you. You’re committing to cars that can’t offer anything solid or long term back.”
I say nothing. Dean nods in approval, having concluded that I understand what he is saying. “It’s settled. Tomorrow, we’ll go take a look at some of the places I have in mind and see if we can break this cycle. So just try to put it out of your head for now — it’s taken care of.”
Another pitcher is delivered to our table. Here we are, two guys having a few drinks. Typical that the conversation centers on transportation. Nothing is definitely resolved but I feel a little better. The pain of the loss of my car is, if not gone, lessened for now. I won’t even mind walking home tonight.
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