Old cars should be dumped like old boyfriends

Judy Markey

October 31, 1990|By Judy Markey | Judy Markey,United Feature Syndicate

WOMEN FEEL the same way about boyfriends as we do about cars.

Once you can't trust them, it's time to get rid of them.

Which sounds kind of brutal. But in our defense, you've gotta admit we give both boyfriends and cars a lot of chances before the old ax actually falls. Because when something starts to go wrong with a boyfriend or a car, we tend to deal with the problem in the same way.

We ignore it for as long as possible.

Especially in the car domain. For instance, if you are a woman, and you are driving along, and all of a sudden you hear a "thwonk" sound followed by a terminal rattle, you just know the best way to deal with this is to turn up the radio.

Now, you do this because you know that once you start bringing your car to a car-mechanic person, it is going to cost you a whole lot of money, money that you would much prefer to spend on outfits. And even when you do spend that money, it does not mean they will ever find the source of your "thwonk" and rattle anyway. That is because the minute you bring your car within a three-foot radius of a car-mechanic person, the "thwonk" will disappear, and the car-mechanic person look will at you as if you were Sybil. However, after two months of "thwonk," you ultimately decide to take it in. And leave it there for three days, during which time you are forced to take public transportation, which is even more unpleasant than driving around with your own personal "thwonk." But hark! when you pick your car up, they will tell you in a hearty car-mechanic-person voice not to worry. That the "thwonk" was merely due to a bad caliper and logic module, which they've replaced. So you won't ever have the problem again, lady.

And you don't. The "thwonk" does not come back. It can't. Because one week later, the car no longer starts. No click. No groan. No nothing. Dead -- for five extremely snotty I-am-a-machine-and-you-are-my-victim minutes, after which it miraculously starts up just as if it were Mario Andretti's personal plaything. So you try to do what you did with the "thwonk." You try to ignore the fact that your car was toying with your sanity, and one time and one teensy time only, the car decided not to start. So you do ignore it. Until the next day. When it does it again. And two days later, when it does it again.

So you're back at the garage. It's Sybil time again, because the little bugger starts every time. They still can't figure it out, although one kid named Vern tells you his aunt had a car that did this, and all you have to do is get out and SHAKE THE WHOLE CAR! It's real easy, lady.

You have no intention of becoming a girl who has to shake a car to get it started. Of course, the whole next week the car is perfectly behaved. But you know that at any minute it could nail you. So every time it actually does start, you find yourself feeling very GRATEFUL. And you're almost sure that GRATEFUL is not the way the owner of a $15,000 vehicle should feel just because the aforementioned vehicle has deigned to start. But you do, feel GRATEFUL, that is. Until the morning it doesn't start again.

So you decide to get rid of it. To sell it. And one night, when you're asking your baby sitter if any of her college friends might want to buy it, she says, "Listen, I took a car-repair course in high school. Let me take a look at it."

So she opens the hood, and she dickers around. And she fixes it. The baby sitter fixes it.

Women feel the same way about boyfriends and cars and auto mechanics.

Once you can't trust them, it's time to get rid of them.

But baby sitters? Honey, baby sitters we love forever.

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