I drive a ’99 Toyota Corolla, Yoda, that you could probably take a few swings at before it was noticeable. With my daily commute there are a lot of reasons why a newer, nicer car would be preferential but I’ve come to embrace the character of this car. Although my car shows it’s age on the outside, OK everywhere, it is dependable. If it weren’t dependable I would have jumped ship long ago.
1. Wisconsin is known for its winters. Last year we experienced the Polar Vortex. I had a short drive to and from work, only about 15 minutes. For those of you with an older, not fully functional car, this isn’t sufficient time to defrost your windows and get comfortable. By the time I would deem the car engine warm enough to drive I would hit the road. The passenger side blower for the heating and air conditioning hasn’t been at 100% nor 50% for quite some time now. Replacing the grinding bearing with removing the debris that is rubbing up against the fan blades isn’t a bad of a fix, but I don’t feel like ripping out the dashboard and so I make do with the noises and the consequences. What are these consequences? The front windshield doesn’t always like to defrost nor stay defrosted. In all my wisdom I found a solution, an open window. Unfortunately, I don’t have power windows and in turn opening and closing the window is a hassle while driving.
I drove 90% of last winter with my window down. I don’t know how many of you feel about mornings but -20⁰F with a 65MPH wind works ten times better than coffee.
2. I defer back to story one. Wisconsin is known for its winters. With the cold came a lot of dead batteries. Even our 2008 Prius met its match. Yoda did not. I walked out to my car nearly every morning, brushed away the snow near the driver’s door and hoped in to start warming up the car. I, along with every other person, crossed my fingers that the cold hadn’t taken its toll that day. Yoda started right up like it was the middle of the summer, every day. A few days last year schools and businesses closed due to the extreme cold. I remember watching people hop into their new cars, hit the ignition, and nothing. They would call around to get picked up or to get jump started. I almost felt bad when my car would start on the first attempt those days.
3. While house hunting Danielle and I decided to take Yoda instead of our Prius because it hadn’t been driven much lately. We met our realtor and went into the first house. The house was nice but it wasn’t for us. We jumped back into the car and headed to the next house. Sort of. The engine turned over, a little pop, and nothing. I tried again. A little noise and we were golden. I don’t know what that noise was and I can’t get the car to make the noise if I try. I parked facing downhill at every house we stopped at that afternoon. I was determined not to be being towed away as the homeowners retuned. I wanted at least enough momentum that I had deniability by distance.
4. Danielle and I were leaving my dad’s house. I put the car in reverse and my heart sank. There was an all not that uncommon jerk and then a loud rattling. I was sure the transmission just started to fail. As I was starting to price it all out my dad walked by. I rolled down the window and he told me to bring the car into the garage. He crawled under the car and emerged a few minutes later with a torn up piece of sheet metal. Yoda lost a heat shield that day, but I gained a foot warmer.
5. My driver’s side mirror is semi-permanently set to my own personal setting. I do not enjoy parking in the sun. I enjoy a somewhat cool vehicle to get into during the summer. After being tired of always getting in a hot car after work I started to eye some spots that were in the shade. There was always a slew of spots open under a tree in the parking lot. Smarter people than I may have postulated why, I did not. I parked under that treelike I owned that tree. The sole owner. I’m by no means afraid of bees or wasps but I notice them. I noticed them a lot that summer. I eventually noticed the nest in that generous shade giving tree, and behind my driver’s side mirror. I leave the nest on my car as a personal reminder. If my can of wasp spray didn’t take care of them, I’m confident the aforementioned polar vortex did.
Welcome to my world of self induced chaos.