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Patty’s Ponderings: Cars And The Art Of Losing Your Mind

A red Plymouth Horizon

I bought a new car. I’ll admit the prior statement just doesn’t seem real yet. Seeing the vehicle in the parking lot here at work or in my driveway doesn’t either! It is a miracle the deal came together at all given my financial issues lately.

I never thought I’d buy a new car ever again and have been a proponent and disciple of buying used cars for a long time. And it is not only me that is shocked. My boss and friend, Scott, was amazed and pleasantly surprised by this action. We have known each other for a long time and he said he never thought he’d see me buy a new car.

The last time I did, it was a financial and emotional disaster which changed my life for decades, and not for the better. I bought a brand new  Plymouth Horizon, which instantly had major issues, none of which were ever covered by the warranty, extended or otherwise.

By the time I unloaded that car onto some poor family, who said they “loved Horizons”, it had had five distributors, numerous carburetors, alternators, computer issues, was completely electrically rewired from bumper-to-bumper, door handles that fell off at the slightest touch and the worst brake problems of any car in history! And that’s the short list! I had nightmares for years about dying in this demonic red car!

Oh the places I was stranded! Once, during a short period of unemployment, my sister Carolyn and I went to Wyoming to visit my mom and look for work. My mom was a psychiatric nursing supervisor at the State Hospital in Evanston back then.

The car was acting weird all the way there. Finally we made it to the hospital grounds and parked in front of the administration building where my mom’s office faced the parking lot. As we pulled in during a raging snowstorm, my sister said, “Don’t turn it off! What if it doesn’t start again?” But it was too late. I turned the ignition off and then quickly tried to re-start the car, but to no avail. It was dead.

I was so tired of this expensive piece of junk ruining me financially that my emotions got the best of me. I jumped out of the car, into the storm, stood on the bumper and started beating on it with a long snow scraper. I was ready to bash in the headlights, windshield and anything else I could! My sister stopped me and reminded me where we were.

Later my mom entertained us by letting me know that some of her employees watching my performance out the window, thought I was a patient checking in. “Nope, that’s my daughter!” my mom sardonically said. We were stranded in that godforsaken, end-of-the-earth, hellhole, and oil boom-town for ten days, while the local Goober Pyle opened my wallet and took the rest of what I had.

In gratitude, I will say that I became one of the most consumer savvy people I know, during that period, which is how I arrived at where I am now.

I’ve done all I can for the economy. It’s your turn now. But ask my advice first. Okay?

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