Thursday, 5 January 2012

THE cars

I'm not the sort who buys and sells more cars than most car dealerships... In almost 9 years of driving (and 9 years of car ownership), I have owned 2 cars. And yes, I owned both of them for 4 and a half years...

The '76 Corolla.
 The first, I bought with money I earned during school holidays working on a local farm, along with some help from my mum. The second, I bought from money I earned at that same farm, though by then I was working there full time.

It was a 1976 Toyota Corolla. Reliable, gutsy for it's age, and black. The sunroof was great, though I had to be careful to shut it just right or it would leak.

My older brother Toby had owned it before me, and he had, among other things, put a new engine in it, repainted it, lowered the front suspension, and put the mag wheels on it. I had bought it off him, 6 months before I was legally able to drive it, so for 6 months it sat under our house, waiting for the moment I got my learner license. Then when I got my provisional license, it carried me to TAFE and back almost every day for 6 months, as I did my certificate in IT. Then, after I had finished school, it took me to work and back, faithfully, even though I didn't exactly drive it gently. It broke down exactly twice in the four and a half years that I owned it. Once, when the fuel pump died, and the second time when it needed a new ignition coil. Oh, I had a flat battery a few times from leaving the headlights on accidentally, but I could hardly blame the car for that! It was a reliable, tough little car, with not too much power, or I probably would have killed myself before I settled down a little in my driving habits.

By the time I was 20, I was looking for another car. My little Corolla was getting old. It's heartbeat was still nice and steady, but I was just wanting to upgrade to something a little newer. My brother had bought and owned a pulsar, and from driving his, I quite liked them, so I started looking for one, just casually to begin with. Then, one morning on the way to work....

It was a damp morning, and coming around a bend not far from our house, I make a mistake. I downshifted in the corner. Now in some cars this might not be a problem. But this was a rear wheel drive, little four cylinder, with absolutely no weight on the back wheels. they locked up, and I slammed into the curb. It buckled the front wheel back until it was almost scraping. I drove it to work that day, and took the next two days off work to buy a car.

The wheels I added myself, about a year after I bought the car
My brother Markus, who is a mechanic, and I, drove around to a lot of car dealerships the first day, but couldn't seem to find anything that looked good. That evening I went looking online at car advertisements, and found two that looked promising. The next morning my Dad drove me to see one of them, about two hours drive from our home. We had arranged with the owner of the car where to meet her, and when. We arrived a little early, and she wasn't there yet, so we waited. Suddenly I saw the car driving around the corner, "My car" I thought. I looked the car over. It looked very neat, and well looked after. Half an hour later, after a quick test drive, I had decided to buy it. Driving it home the next day felt great! I had a car again, and it was exactly what I had wanted. It was a 1997 Nissan Pulsar. Almost exactly 10 years old at the time when I bought it. Not only economical, but the sort of car that is fun to drive. I enjoyed driving it for over four years. And again, it broke down exactly twice. But then again, I look after my cars, and God blessed me with a car that had been looked after before I got it.

And that brings me to now. My car served me faithfully til the 23rd of December. Then, being coaxed through some floodwater that was just a little too deep, it finally gave up. Actually, I think I did the damage a week or so before, again, driving through water. It got water into the engine, weakened something, and on that day, it finally gave way, snapping one or more of the conrods. A loud knocking noise, followed by an even louder crack, and my faithful car was no more. I placed the insurance claim, and yesterday the car was towed away and assessed. The tow truck driver said that it was guaranteed to be a write off, and for the first time in my life, I am glad to lose my car. Driving it on the rough dirt roads around here had destroyed the suspension, and the registration had run out, which meant that I would have had to fix the car up properly before I could re-register it. Then I would have to sell it anyway to buy a vehicle that is more suited to our needs. If the insurance does indeed pay us the value of the car, then we have to go shopping for another one, and hopefully one that will last us at least 4 years, :D.

But it was still a little sad to lose this car. This was the car I drove to Lismore to visit Cherith in (and which seemed to impress her so much). This was the car the two of us travelled around in so much at the end of 2010, and the start of 2011. This was the car we drove off to honeymoon in. A lot of memories, and yet, it is still only a car. But it was, for four years, one of the few things I could count on. I knew, that when I walked out in the morning to go to work, that it would start, first try, every time. No if's, no but's, no maybe's. It just did.

For now though, we have to rely on other people to either take us shopping, or do it for us. Life is good, even if not always smooth. Because God is in control, and He doesn't take time off, or wear out after 4 and a half years like my cars seem to. He is always there for us, and that is the most comforting thought in life....

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