Monday, September 17, 2007

Friend Scott’s primary vehicle is an enormous white pick-up truck. Despite removing the tailgate to improve its aerodynamics, it still gets about 2 miles to the gallon. So, when he got his now wonderful permanent job in Morristown, he started looking around for a less gas-guzzling vehicle.

Enter The Red Claptrap of Death.

The first I heard of the red Honda, was after it broke down right after Scott bought it, leaving him stranded on the interstate. I think the timing chain broke the same day he got it and something about the engine. I don’t know much about cars but the engine had to be replaced. Towing was involved.

“It’s only got 260,000 miles on it!” He proclaimed.

He bought it locally. These are wonderful people up here, but they have a typical Scots-Irish attitude toward finances. A much more stringent “Caveat Emptor” strategy must be applied in all business dealings. Frugality mixed with charming blarney can get you in a whole mess of trouble if you aren’t careful. And the car business is full of this sort of thing anyway…so it’s not like you wouldn’t see it coming.

So, the next time Scott drove The Red Claptrap of Death …surprise!...It broke down again! Fuel pump failure or something like that. At this point he had found a mechanic who was a preacher who was doing the work for much less.

I know when I tried to find someone locally to align the jeep, they quoted me a price far above the dealerships and handed me some nonsense about how hard it was having to do each wheel and how much more it would be if they found something wrong with some imaginary part. They just wouldn’t shut up and I said, “Fine…the dealership is much less so I’ll take it there.”

This is one of the few places in the world where the dealership costs less to repair a vehicle than a private garage.

At this point I refused point blank to ever set foot in the thing.

He tried to get me in it to go visit his father for his dad’s 70th birthday party.

“No. We will take the jeep.”

“I don’t have enough money for gas for the jeep.” He says.

“So we’ll split it. I’m not getting in that car and ending up stranded on the highway.”

“But it’s got a new engine!” He says.

“Scott,” I say reasonably, “That car has broken down every time you’ve driven it.”

“No it hasn’t!” He says.

“How many times has it broken down?”


“And how many times have you driven it.”

He glares at me.

“Fuck you!”

I don’t mind this since I know it’s frustrating to be around a person like me who is always right.

So, today I am going into town with Scott and am forced to finally take a ride in The Red Claptrap of Death. I don’t have enough gas money to get to town to deposit my birthday check my sister sent me…and so, Friend Scott has me over a barrel on this one.

I’m packing my purse with provisions in case we, predictably, end up hoofing it down the interstate. Lets see…we’ll need water, dehydrated camping food, sleeping bags…and I should wear some very comfortable shoes.


  1. kaliblue said...
    Hey Miss Rosie,
    How ya doing?. It's been a while since I posted to ya. I'm gonna have to come back and sit a spell to catch up on your goings on:-). Miss reading you. I just love your stories.
    ((hugz)) to ya sugar... Take care now. Angela
    KMTBERRY said...
    I don't know how you do it, Rosie. If my local mechanic quoted me a price that was MORE than the dealership, I think I'd CRY and consider leaving town.
    threecollie said...
    Don't forget matches
    Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...
    I drive vehicles like that. It makes life interesting and threatens to make life short. My last truck had the brakes completely fail twice. Once saw me careening down a hill and across the trans-Canada highway to roll to a stop a mile further on the mainstreet of a little town. Twice this vehicle has had a tie rod come disconnected and thrown me in the ditch and through a fence.

    I never leave home without knowing who I can call to come and get me. I also know the names of everyone on the roads between here and the next towns so if I break down I can ask to use their phone.

    It feels so good when you get home! You feel as if you have escaped death one more time. Damn! life feels good.
    bluemountainmama said...
    hilarious! i had a car like that...i bought it right before moving to MD and it earned me "The AAA award" at the school where i worked at our staff retreat. there were several times that co-workers had to pull off the side of the road on their way to work after seeing me stranded there.:)

    glad to see you are back to writing....
    Audubon Ron said...
    You need to get friend Scott to strap a bike rack on the back.

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