out of necessity

i need to make a long post to get that HUGE FUCKING PICTURE OF TOPLESS BRITNEY out of my sidebar, so let’s all sit down for storytime.

the story of HAL
or, how cars suck: part I

when i was nineteen, I got my very first car. It was a 1993 Hyundai Excel. My father also had a Hyundai Excel, a real beater with no clock, no radio, and, after several years of light use, no speedometer. Taking the legacy of Hyundai Sr. as precedent, I named my shiny “new-to-you” vehicle Hal, after the homicidal computer in 2001. That may have been my first bad move.

the car was purchased for the sum of 4,000 dollars (which, in hindsight, seems usurous) in the summer of 1999. I drove it happily for almost ten whole months. Just me and Hal. On the road from Boston to Syracuse, on the road from Syracuse to Jersey, on the road from my apartment to the liquor store, we were a happy couple.

until one fateful day.

In February, as the Central NY snow was beginning to thaw and we college students prepared to let loose with keggers, frisbee, and egregious substance abuse, I noticed a slight “jerking” in the driving. Said “jerking” felt suspiciously like the “jerking” i had felt one night during my freshman year while driving my roommate’s car with no heat and a busted transmission into South Station. But that’s another story.

I took Hal to the mechanic and, sure enough, total transmission failure.

did i mention the car only had 60,000 miles on it? yeah.

my parents loaned me the money for the repair, and after three weeks of hoofing it to class, Hal and I were united again.

It was a good time. the best of times. Junior and senior year passed blissful, with no more than a few oil changes and cigarette burns to show for the travel. Hal appeared in several of my films, we explored the nether regions of Cazenovia and Pennslvania, and once we even considered escaping the winter cold by running to Florida. But then, two weeks before my graduation, disaster struck.

Driving for groceries, having just woken up, i paused behind a black Jeep at a stop sign. I looked down, searching for the “Phish NYC 12-29-98” tape that my friend had made me, and when i looked up THE JEEP HAD ITS REVERSE LIGHTS ON. It was only a matter of seconds before I was front-ended. Perhaps it was the cobwebs in my brain from a night of sleeping in a smoke-filled room with the window shut, but when I got out of my car to talk to the offender, I took only his phone number and license plate and we went on our way.

the conversation went thusly:

him: “oh shit, man, i’m sorry, man”
me: “no problem dude”
him: “shit man, you ain’t gonna call the cops are you? I just got outta jail, you know, and, oh shit man”
me: “no man, it’s cool. Let me get your number and we’ll deal with it later”

ah college. time of infinite wisdom. getting hit by an ex-con who backs into you at a stop sign and not even asking for insurance. it later turned out that he was driving an UNINSURED car that was NOT, in fact, registered to him, and the person who HAD the registration had no knowledge of the accident.

I drove home with what i later learned was a broken radiator. Broken, as it were, from the front end of my car actually PUSHING THE RADIATOR INTO MY ENGINE. Needless to say, the car was totaled, I still owed money on it, and the value of the wreckage of my first vehicle was only slightly higher than my loan balance.

stay tuned for
“why cars suck: part II”
or, “the tale of a naive girl and her first Focus”


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