Friday, August 15, 2008

Pane Fetish

To be absolutely fair to myself, the Vanta C was the first car I've ever purchased. Growing up a stone's throw from the Motor City, and with two older car-crazy brothers meant that there was always a hand-me-down car coming my way. My last car was a 1995 Ford Escort, which made its way to me via my mom, who got it from my oldest brother after he'd grown tired of it, and who then passed it on to my other brother until he joined the Army and left home. As if on cue, I returned from overseas, car-less, and the rest was history. The Escort needed me, I needed it, and I became the fourth person in my family to call it her own.

RIP Escort 1995- 2008

Before the Escort was the Skylark, handed down. Before that was the Taurus, handed down. You get the picture; I've coasted through life, never scouring the classifieds for a set of wheels, never setting foot on a used car lot, never negotiating bank loans, never dealing with Car Salesmen, and never being treated like a woman who was trying to buy a car. So, for the sake of fairness to myself, I can blame my complete inability to make an informed auto-buying decision on my cushy life of tossed-off rides. To be even MORE fair, my van is not only an automobile, but also an RV, complete with appliances and plumbing. So, essentially, this purchase also makes me a first-time homeowner.

So, I can cut myself a little slack on the moment of stupidity which occurred the first time I met my Vanta C. Blinded by her towering stature, loft bed, and kitchen, I couldn't think rationally. I WANTED HER! And I wanted to ignore the millions of red flags trying to warn me that she was going to be a load of trouble. I made the classic inexperienced car-buyer's mistake: I believed what the sellers told me.

For example, a light blue piece of metal covered one of the windows on the back cargo door. It had been bolted to the van, right over the window. When I asked why it was there, Dishonestladyseller told me that she liked her privacy when using the toilet, so she convinced her husband, Dishonestmanseller, to cover the window. Inside, the window was covered in curtains, and plastic tinting gels... I didn't get a good look (YES! One of my stupider moments!) until two months later when I decided to wash all the curtains, and... wait a damned minute! There's no window at all! Just a gasket clinging to the last few remaining class shards and a piece of cellophane duct taped to it.

And so it was...

To Do:
Replace glass in back door.

1. Complain about it for a week.
2. Talk to friends, who advise me to go to a junkyard for the glass.
3. Go to "U-pull-it" junkyard, pretend I'm a junkyard princess and I have millions of glistening cars.
4. Find a window that fits!
5. Stare at window for a long time trying to figure out how to remove it from the van it's currently in.
6. Walk down the different rows of cars, say hi to my subjects (I am their princess, after all.).
7. Return to the window, glare at it. It doesn't care.
8. Call my amazing car-loving brother (who's also a damned fine mechanic), who tells me to just take it to a glass shop and have them do it right.
9. Go to glass shop. Action Auto Glass! Glass guys tell me my window isn't made anymore so I need to go find one at... wait for it... A JUNKYARD!
10. Make some calls, find a junkyard who will pull it for me. Buy the window over the phone, agree to pick it up Monday. Action Auto Glass says they'll install it for free!
11. Junkyard calls on Saturday, says they broke my window, but have a different (BETTER) one that they'll give me for the same price.
12. Tuesday I pick up my bubblewrapped old junkyard window and take it to Action Auto Glass!
13. Action Auto Glass breaks my window! For free! They tell me it was the wrong window and I need to go back to the junkyard and order the right one.
14. Junkyard doesn't have any more.
15. Cry, and have big breakdown right before work because I'm back to square one after spending three days and $50.
16. Try not to throw iPhone at the wall because it says "NO SERVICE" even though I'm in the middle of a city, and I need to call more junkyards.
17. Cry. Need a nap but can't take one because I have to work. Be thankful for waterproof mascara.
18. Buy a Frappucino cause I'm sad and I want to eat chocolate.
19. Complain for two more days.
20. Return to "U-Pull-It" with my boyfriend's mom and dad in tow for support and guidance. Wave to my subjects again.
21. Glare once again at the window, wield an exacto knife, and go to town on the rubber gasket holding it in the van. Take turns cutting and ripping, pulling and pushing.
22. Ten minutes later, pay $27 for a dirty old window which isn't broken, triumphantly leave "U-Pull-It" while celebrating this small victory.

As I type, my victory glass rests safely against the couch in my living room. But if there's one thing I've learned during these testing preparations, it's not to count my chickens before they've hatched. I still can't tick this item off my To-Do list, and I still have a chunk of metal covering the hole in the back door, but I got my glass! And I've realized that even though I haven't hit the road just yet, my journey has begun. This is what I wanted: the chance to be radically self-reliant. To push myself, to learn about cars, to know that the problems I encounter along the way can be overcome, and I'll be a better person because of them. I want to experience pain (pane?), because I know deep down inside myself that the moments when I'm experiencing the most discomfort are the moments of the most growth.



Anonymous said...

I'm just so super-excited that people will be able to see you pee now!

Anonymous said...

YAY!!! I can relate to so much of what you wrote! I am so excited for you! you have so many more experiences ahead of you! *kisses*
And I love the way you write by the way. Your blog is cooler than mine. Damnit.