ARTICLE

Ode to an automobile

By TRISHA PHELPS


Mt. Pleasant News


I have a new car. Well, I have a new-to-me car. The car used to belong to my boyfriend?s grandmother. It is the very first car upon which my name is on the title. I love my beige Buick, but I?m not quite used to it yet.


I didn?t always drive my current car. As a matter of fact, anyone who knew the car I drove in college will be quite happy I have upgraded.


Don?t get me wrong, I loved my car from college and the couple of years after graduation. I very proudly drove a blue 1988 Oldsmobile Regency. It belonged to my great-grandmother. For the six years that I had that car, I went on several long road trips.


Each road trip was more exciting than the last, because I never knew for sure if the car was going to make it back home.


The last trip I took with the old car was a weekend trip to Wisconsin, two summers ago. I wasn?t more than five miles into my return trip home when the car broke down. I always carried a toolbox in the car for emergencies, but I didn?t know what to do once I actually needed it.


Luckily for me, my car broke down across the street from a very nice mechanic?s house. He fixed the car and I made it home.


One of the major differences between my Buick and the old blue car is that the old car didn?t have a lot of bells and whistles. It got me where I needed to go (usually), and that was about it. But really, that is about all a car needs to do in the first place.


The weekend at the end of December when we had our first snow this year, I was determined to go to Iowa City to finish Christmas shopping and spend some time with my boyfriend, Scott.


I figured that the snow came on Thursday night, so if I didn?t leave until Friday, the road crews had a whole day to get the streets cleared.


After work I got ready, put gas in the tank and attempted to head north.


I hadn?t driven very far when my dashboard lights lit up. This made me incredibly nervous. In the old blue car, any time a light came on on my dashboard it meant something was about to stop working. I hadn?t had my new car very long, and wasn?t too thrilled at the idea of it breaking down already.


I did what nearly any girl does in a time of car trouble. I called my dad.


He explained that the lights were the my car?s way of letting me know that using my parking break earlier in the day wasn?t a very smart idea.


The dashboard lights went off after I started my car again.


Another block and a half later, the lights came back on. My Iowa City trip was not looking very likely after all.


I stopped in at work to see if anyone there knew what was going on with my car. When I started the car to show my co-workers the dashboard lights, they didn?t come on. I was relieved. A couple of co-workers tried to explain traction control to me because that was what they thought was wrong. My old car didn?t do that so I was a little bit confused, but mostly I was glad that the lights didn?t come back on.


A block later, the lights were on again.


Slowly becoming a nervous wreck, I pulled into the Methodist Church parking lot, and came across Mark Kimzey, who assured me that nothing was going to blow up or quit working on my nice, new-to-me car. Thanks, Mark.


Apparently this new car has a few more bells and whistles than I am used to. I?m sure after a long road trip or two, I?ll get to know the Buick a little better and hopefully won?t be as surprised the next time something happens that didn?t happen with my old car.