My friends know I’m the Doctor Kevorkian of the plant world. But I’ve been keeping a darker secret: I have the same effect on cars.
It’s not intentional—I’ve even done limited mechanical work, like replacing a clutch cable on a 67 VW Beetle. But looking back on the trail of bizarrely broken autos, I’m beginning to think I have…wait for it…bad karma.
From my first driving lesson in Mom’s Rollerskate, er, Ford Escort, which within a day of me driving it developed the sudden urge to only move in reverse, to my current car, now in the care of a mechanic because it developed an allergy to asphalt, any vehicles I drive break down with conditions that even Click and Clack would need to call in Carl Jung to solve. New or used, it doesn’t matter. They all wait until I’m behind the wheel to have a total nervous collapse.
I do try to maintain them, but how do you handle an entire dashboard falling off or a wheel heading for greener pastures by itself while you’re speeding down a hill? That’s something Turtle Wax just can’t fix.
My official first car that I paid money for was an Audi Somethingorother. It looked like a bowler hat caught in a cracker box, but I loved it. The car also had fantastic gas mileage and didn’t cost a thing to run—because it never started. Not once. It went straight to the shop and settled in. For a full year. Finally, I sold it to the guys who ran the shop because A) I was very young and B) I was an idiot (see fig. A).
But in between that first drive of each vehicle and the lights of the wrecker have been some amazing times. I loved the jacked-up Ford truck tricked out with glass packs that I inherited from my brother. I got nods of approval from both lesbians and rednecks while driving it, although that could have been from the va-va-voom girl silhouette my brother had plastered on the back window. And I spent many joyous hours speeding along in my Hyundai singing Disney soundtracks at the top of my lungs, although now I realize that could have contributed to the engine committing hara-kiri.
Until my current ride is cured of sputtering like a sneezing toddler whenever it touches a highway, I’ll be walking. Because you can always trust your own two feet, right?
Did I mention my third secret is that I’m clumsy?