The Glad Game

12 Oct

Pollyanna was (is?) one of my favorite family movies ever. But Polly, how can that be? You complain about everything always and Pollyanna is famous for her unending optimism even when faced with monumental setbacks including but not limited to the death of her parents and her nearly fatal fall from the tree outside her cranky aunt’s house! I know, right? I have comparatively little to gripe about, so I’m going to attempt to apply Pollyanna’s Glad Game to the most persistent stressor in my life: My automotive woes.

Behold, an optimistic recounting of my car history!

Car: 1989 Buick LeSabre
Name: The Cheapmobile
Years Driven: 2005-2007
The Cheapmobile was passed down from my Poppy to my dad and was the cause for much familial grief. The windshield was sealed with duct tape, the passenger side mirror attached with a bungee cord, the ceiling upholstery reinforced with staples, and no radio. This car was once stolen from a parking lot in New Haven, CT. Oh happy day!  Two days later the dastardly thieves returned it to the same spot. They took my Aaron Carter cd from the back seat, but they brought back the car.

This is the car (let’s be honest, this thing was a BOAT) I was allowed to drive after I got my permit. I swore to my father that I would eat the Cheapmobile before I ever started the ignition, but alas my desire to prepare for my road test outweighed my fear of being seen operating that malodorous hunk o’ junk. Two weeks before the Big Day, my dad and I were running errands. As I approached a red light, the brakes gave way. My father took this opportunity to teach me the valuable driving lesson of the “emergency right turn”. We right-turned until eventually ending up in our driveway, remarkably still alive.

The Glad Game: The Cheapmobile was scrapped before anyone could propose that I use it as my primary vehicle after being licensed!

1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
The Oldz
Years Driven:
I loved this car. I owned this car. I took pride in being the only student in my high school’s parking lot without a spanking-new fancymobile purchased by Mommy and Daddy (no hate to my fancy car friends. Were I able I’d have gladly swapped). The windows and doors were manual, he idled pretty violently, and no amount of WD-40 would remove the previous owner’s NRA sticker from the back window. The Oldz got me where I needed to go and attached his signature Elderly Man smell to anyone privileged enough to be allowed inside. From my first experiences with “parking” to the last time I got to say goodbye to our aging family dog on our way to the vet, Oldzy was there. He served me faithfully until dying without warning as my father drove across three states to pick me up for Christmas break during my sophomore year of college.

The Glad Game: He had a happy life, was much loved, and did not long suffer.

Car: 2000 Volkswagen Jetta
Joan Jetta
Years Driven:
When a used car seems too good to be true, it is. This car smelled like a car and not a geriatric care facility. (Ed. Note: Pol, your Jetta did NOT smell like car. It smelled like CRAYONS. Love, Penny.) She had a cd player. Her windows and doors opened with buttons. Only three weeks after purchasing Joan Jetta with the money I slaved for by working as a singing waitress on a tourist dinner cruise vessel, she started giving me grief. She shook violently if I started her up after it rained. (After about ten minutes of flooding the engine, she usually started to work.) But the issue was degenerative and eventually Joan stalled if she perceived even a hint of humidity. When she completely died the morning I needed to drive two hours away for a fitness instructor certification course (Ex Zumba instructor here. MOVE THOSE HIPS, LADIES!), I finally caved and had her inspected. $1500 and a new catalytic convertor later, Joan started behaving.

Then a few months later I crashed her on a congested interstate. I was paying attention to the cop cars in my rearview and noticed the brake lights in front of me only when it was too late. When everyone stopped short I hit a car that hit a car that hit a car. Totaled.

The Glad Game: No one was hurt, only Joan sustained serious injuries, and all people involved in the accident (besides myself) were still cheery because they were all on their way to ComicCon.

1994 Volkswagen Golf
Years Driven:
Tranny here refers to the malfunctioning transmission that liked to make a lot of noise but never actually accelerate this whorecar. Tranny was just a car in the most basic of senses. Her radio didn’t work, two of her windows wouldn’t roll down, she didn’t have any armrests, and even her cupholders couldn’t fit conventional cups. The sunroof was the only automatic feature. This bewildered me. If the sunroof can operate with buttons why can’t the windows?? Still, she got me from point A to B. Very slowly.

My dad generously passed her down after I killed Joan and used that as an excuse to buy himself a car that worked. Upon passing Tranny off to me, he imparted “The back right wheel makes some weird noises but the mechanic said nothing was wrong.”

Two weeks later. “Dad, it truly feels like this tire is going to fall off my car.” “Pol, that’s ridiculous.”

Another week. “Now it’s wobbly and it sounds like a dying squirrell. It’s going to fall off the car.” “Oh you’re overreacting.”

Next morning. “I WIN, DAD. I WIN. I was driving it to a mechanic when the wheel FELL OFF THE CAR before I could even get it out of the parking lot. I could have DIED.” “You sound fine to me! Sorry about that tire. Shit happens!”

The Glad Game:
He’s right, it’s good that I was in a parking lot and not on the road. And Tranny’s tranny issues escalated so quickly that my dad took her back. “I know how to handle terrible cars.”

Car: 2001 Dodge Neon
NeNe Leaks
Years Driven:
She’s cute, purple, spunky, and a total raging bitch.

  1. January- Rear-ended on the way to a highly anticipated They Might Be Giants concert. [Officer looks in shock at the older man also pulled into the shoulder. “Wait, you hit her?”]
  2. February- Radiator cracks and overheats the car in three minutes.
  3. July- Timing belt dies and takes half the car and all of my savings with it.
  4. August- Oil pan breaks. Zero fluid retention. Hence her surname.
  5. October- Battery dies at a rest stop on my way back from Beercation with Penny.

The Glad Game:
At least my battery died at a place where it could be replaced in under ten minutes. And I guess being financially destitute is character building?

This is great, Pol! I’m happy for you and your optimism. You should play this game more often.
SarcMarc, much?
Glad game: If the punctuation fits, use it.

Tune in next week when I attempt to find the upside to all the silverfish entering my apartment through my shower!


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