October 20, 2005
She’s a gem!, PaCharley gushed, as he looked in amazement at the results of my emissions test today. A ’91 with zero CO emissions detected—who would have thought . . . yeah, my new car gets a perfect score in my book, too!
So it was decidedly unpleasant, to say the least, to have unexpected sudden engine death this month. My bank account was already squealing at me, after months of scraping by on random part-time jobs picked up as I found them. And now, when I was happily, if somewhat anxiously, focusing all my energies on work again, I suddenly had to be distracted by the hunt for a new car, and by the questioning of What could I have done to prevent this . . . What if I had checked the levels again after the coolant light went off? . . . Did I kill my car in my ignorance? . . .
I did not think I’d be in the market for another car for years yet, and spent a week on the verge of tears—and yes, occasionally in tears—after it happened.
But today I was ever so thankful that it had. Today PaCharley accompanied me on lunch-break car errands, as we transferred the tags to my new car. I too often rush through life duties, frantically trying to get everything taken care of. But when I am mindful enough, I see the beauty of moments like this.
Because of my car “incident,” I was forced to accept help. I had to humbly admit to myself, and to others, that I needed help finding a new car. And PaCharley got to make use of his great car-sleuthing skills, finding not just a car that I can afford, but the car that is, for all practical purposes, my dream car. It is a treat to once more drive a Toyota—a car that feels like it was made for me, a car that is efficient, that I feel good about driving, and that I know the engine of well enough to maintain on my own. I love the feeling of self-sufficiency that such an efficient, simple, and economical vehicle offers. I love driving a straight shift again. And I really love “car talk” with my PaCharley.
“Yes, of course she’s a gem, Pa Charley—you found her for me! . . . You know, I haven’t named her yet. My old Toyota had a name—remember? Hubcaps Noirs. But he was a boy, with his stylish dark red coat of paint. This is most definitely a girl . . . just look at her!”
Pa Charley chuckled, and then commented again on how proud the woman who sold her to me had been of her “baby”—“Icy blue pearl,” was the color, she had told him, when describing over the phone this car she had bought new when she was in college and had driven loyally ever since.
“That’s it, PaCharley—Pearl! That’s her name!!” . . . of course she was Pearl. How could I not have seen that already? I grinned and patted the steering wheel fondly, already talking out loud to my car in my usual nutty fashion.
Yes indeed, Pearl is a gem :-)