Monday, August 25, 2008

"Let's put one of those beefy arms back on for good measure"

If wishes were fishes, I'd have a bionic car.

I have been looking for a car - either a shell that I can put my engine into or just a cheap car, and having varied luck. Right now I'm waiting to hear back from a guy who has a 97 Civic where the engine doesn't work but everything else does. Perfect, right?

But, as I wait, I just can't help but look eagerly down my street every time I come home, hoping that the Car Fairy has visited and left me a gift - either a new car or just my fixed old one.

But I'm disappointed each time I come around the corner of Damascus Way and see my decrepit, sad-looking pile of what once was Phil, my marvelous car.

Since we had a block party on our front lawn, all the neighbors had a front-seat view of my lovely hunk of metal and I had the, "What happened?" question asked more than once. With each tale, they all commented that they were glad I was okay and that it was much easier to fix a car than a person.

I disagree.

I mean, at this point, if I were given a choice between breaking my leg and having my car be completely fine or having a totaled car and not a scratch on me, I would take the broken leg, which would eventually heal. In fact, as much time as it's taking for me to fix my car, my leg would probably have been healed by now!

Which made me want bionic cars to be made into a reality - the type that can regrow parts of itself, if only given time and a splint or two. Cars would last forever! Or, actually, they would probably have the same life of a person, which would probably be like having a dog. Or more like having a spouse, actually. :)

I guess there would be repercussions to the car industry, though - more than there already are- and then unemployment would be huge and we'd be plunged into the Great Depression II, but I still think it's worth a try. Here's one solution for keeping mechanics employed: there could be car hospitals where mechanics could take care of your car while it healed for just as much as they charged before. Or even as much as a hospital charges.

Which makes me want to talk about tow trucks - holy flippin' cow! They charge a ton of money to do something I could do for like maybe $50, and that's with a $20 tip to me! I know towing companies are a necessity when you need to get your car somewhere and so they think they can charge more for a needed service, but I think it's unethical how much they charge.

I think if one towing company brought their prices way down and everyone started using them, the other companies would have to follow suit to stay in business. Maybe I'm naive. Alright - I know I am. But it's just a thought about improving their method. I'd improve their method if I had a bionic car with beefy arms - or arm, actually.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Shirt Social Experiment

So, as usual, I was in a hurry to get dressed and out the door yesterday, and in the process I guess I put my shirt on inside out. I didn't realize I'd done it until I got to work and almost stepped out of the car. I rolled my eyes, and promised myself I'd switch my shirt as soon as I clocked in and got a few things done.

By the time I remembered to fix it, two hours had passed, which brought out the Sociologist in me - after all, it was my minor - and I wondered how long it would take people to realize and/or tell me about my wardrobe malfunction.

It took all day.

I chatted with the production staff a lot and we even went out for ice cream for one of the coworker's birthdays, and I got no response.

Just as I went to clock out, Amanda - the person who's the editor of the alternative publication The Flipside - asked if she was just not up on fashion and that my shirt was inside out. I laughed, told her of my story and almost simultaneously had about three more people tell me my shirt was inside out, even thought they hadn't heard the story.

So, I decided that every day I'm going to walk by Amanda and have her check me out for any possible dressing foibles I might have committed in the morning - and maybe not worry about the production staff caring and/or noticing.

P.S. Apparently inside out IS the fashion statement for some people. Weird.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Erradication of a Life That Had Just Begun

So, I almost decided to not write about my car accident, but it's the most exciting/least boring thing about me right now. Besides fulfilling going to the Planetarium on Saturday with my BFFs and seeing a 3D movie about the ocean, narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.

Yes, it's true, I killed my car - almost less than a month after purchasing it. I haven't even started making payments on it - although those are coming all too soon.

I think I've told my story to almost everyone - I've become quite good at it since I've told it about 7 billion times. So, sorry if you've heard this one. It's weird - when people find out you've pretty much killed your car, they want to know how you did it.

Okay, so I was driving home from work, down Parley's Canyon (so, going east on I-80), in the right lane ('cause I like to kind of coast at about 60 or 65 and not use gas as much as I can) and I noticed a semi in the right lane with its lights flashing, showing that it was going slow.

I thought I could go around it, so although I did slow down a bit, I didn't seriously put on my brakes. I checked over my shoulder at the middle lane, noting its fullness, and by the time I brought my head back around to see what was happening, the semi was right in front of me - it was going a lot slower than I originally thought it was.

I slammed on my brakes and fishtailed out of the road into the ditch by the side of the freeway. My airbags deployed, giving me some nice burns and bruises, but besides that I wasn't hurt in any way.

The ambulance quickly came, checked me to make sure I was okay, and left. Then came the police - a Summit County policeman, then a Utah Highway Patrolman. They checked yet again to make sure I was okay, and I called my dad to let him know what happened. I filled out an accident report and waited for the tow truck.

My dad got there by that time, and he called the insurance agency and talked with the tow truck driver and the police officer - and gave me a big hug. That was helpful when I got ticketed for not staying within one lane. Kind of lame, in my opinion, but I guess I might've been going pretty fast - even though I've NEVER seen a semi going that slowly on I-80 before - even in the canyon.

We followed the tow truck back to an auto body shop my dad had used before, and paid the tow truck driver with cash I snagged from my savings account. We then went home, anticipating what would happen to Phil.

The next day, I got a call from my dad, telling me to call the insurance agency and tell them what my ticket was for. The insurance agent then told me my car was pretty much totaled, according to that auto body shop where we took my car. I was pretty bummed that I would have to buy another car so soon after I bought my first one, but I was happy, thinking my car was covered.

Then I got home from work.

My dad told me my car wasn't covered collision-wise - which seemed smart at the time I bought insurance, since all the books on insurance say to not cover cars 10 years or older with collision, since the premium is really high and if you total it you only get the worth of the car, which isn't much when the car is old.

To sum it up: a car I just bought was totaled and I had to buy another car, while still paying for the first one.

I cried, but my dad suggested we see if the shop could do a quick fix, sans cosmetic things like paint, for less than the worth of the car. I don't remember how much they said that would be, but it was still a lot. Then my dad had my neighbor look at it, and he estimated it would be about $1,900 all around - although he didn't look under the hood and was known for underestimating repair costs lately.

I wanted to just have him fix my car and get on with life, when my dad came up with an idea: my engine was fine - why couldn't we just take my good engine and put it in a better body? Right now, I'm willing to play his game, but when I told my boss my dad's idea, he said it would probably be a crapshoot - getting a car that would fit my engine, with a decent body for a low amount of money would be hard to find. I've been looking on and craigslist, as well as googling everything to do with a Honda Civic and a body, coming up with a few hits for late '80s/early 90s cars, but mostly nothing.

Everything in me wishes I could go back to that moment and do something different than what I did, but what happens happens and you have to deal with what you've done and what happens to you, I guess, which leaves me feeling fine and other people feeling disconcerted that I'm so calm.

So, I guess what I'm saying is: anybody have a crappy 1997 Honda Civic they want to sell me? Or know where I can find one?