…Even after (or in spite of, depending) two giant cups of coffee. I’m feeling scattered, because I have lots of stuff to do this week and I [totally and completely lost track of what I was typing just then, because I decided to do three other things simultaneously, all of which are probably half-assed].

As such, this post will have no real narrative arc.

N and I are officially sans automobile. Last week we were trying to get our 20-year-old station wagon inspected before the current inspection expired, but our usual mechanic–who generally holds onto our car for weeks at a time, like it’s car rehab or something, and then returns to us a rejuvenated car with a more clearly defined sense of purpose–couldn’t fit us into his rather busy schedule of holding onto other people’s cars for weeks at a time.

So, our inspection expired and we drove our illegal automobile over the bridge to Greenpoint, where the mechanic wisely looked under the hood before he even began the inspection.

“You need two new struts and this hose needs to be replaced.”

N and I have discussed precisely how much money is too much to throw at a car with a Bluebook value of $50 (and that’s because it has a tape deck). “How much would all that cost?” N asked.

The mechanic motioned the garage owner over.

He started out, “Yeah, you’re looking at probably $90 for each strut, plus $65 labor for each side, plus this hose–well, the hose is like $20–but we have to remove the axle to replace it, and that’s like two hours right there…” at which point I stopped hearing anything except for an old-fashioned cartoon adding machine.

He seemed to think it was a totally reasonable amount of work.

N and I turned to each other. “Maybe we should just put it up on the Free section of Craigslist,” N suggested.

“Yeah, I guess that’s our best bet.”

And it really was a bet, because part of me was hoping that maybe the owner would make a counteroffer of, say, $75 to repair everything. But it was only a really tiny part of me. Paramecium sized.

“Well, hm,” the owner said, lighting up an unfiltered Camel [Aside: They still MAKE those? I can’t believe it] and looking like he was trying to convey Deep Thinking in a game of charades. “The mechanic here needs a car.”

The mechanic looked vaguely embarrassed.

“Do you want the car?” We both asked this at the exact same time, our voices probably an octave higher because of our excitement.

The mechanic shrugged. “I could probably do something with it.”

“It’s a great car,” I offered. “Runs really well.” And that wasn’t even a lie! And even if it maybe were a little bit of a lie, the guy’s a fucking mechanic and the car is fucking FREE. Take it take it take it take it take it, I willed him telepathically.

He shrugged again. “Okay.”

I’d like to say that this was an act of altruism and generosity, or, as N’s parents would say, a “blessing.” But really, it was the opposite of selflessness. We dumped that car like it had a curse on it.

Hooray! I took the plates and registration and we marched over the bridge home, feeling a little sad. It felt like the walk of desperation you make when your car breaks down. But in this case, we were abandoning it.

Well, not quite, because the next day I marched back over the bridge to bring him the title and clear out all our cassette tapes. I patted the back hatch in a totally detached way, like I was trying to convey Old Yeller in a game of charades. Goodbye, car!

I wonder if we’ll see him driving around? Or will he opt to dump it in the East River, something we considered more than once?

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