I bought a car for no real reason.
When I was 19, I bought a '93 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. Needed to. HAD to. Was his true? No. But for some reason, I got it into my head that I needed a car, so I bought one. This car specifically, needed to be bought as when I was a kid, my mom owned this type of car. Why did that matter? I don't know. But I wanted THIS car. This type of car. So I looked for one, and found it. Sixteen hundred dollars for this thing. Bought it.
"Sixteen hundred dollars for a car that's twelve years old and that I don't need at all!? Sweet!"
I'll start from why I didn't need this thing. At the time I bought this car, I was living in my friends closet. True. I'll get into more of that story another time, but basically my last year of high school, I needed a place to stay. My friend asked his mom, and she agreed to let me stay there. Pretty crazy. So, I was sleeping in his closet. Not like closet, closet, but doors off, bed in closet, head in closet, closet. With that, I for sure didn't need a car. Getting my own place should have been a higher priority. Having my own room and a closet for clothes instead of sleeping should have been at the forefront.
"Hey, man. You're staying at a friends. You gonna get your own place?"
"Meh, maybe. First I have to get an automobile, a PS2, and an outdoor pool. I figure that other thing out later."
Another reason I didn't need this car, was that I was actually working at my friends dads warehouse, and his dad picked us up everyday for work. Everyday. No problem at all getting there. And still, for some reason, I decided I needed this car.
"Hey, you're buying a car. You need it to get to work and back?"
"No. Not at all. It's actually going to be way more of a hassle for me, but I'm doing it!"
I'm a stubborn weirdo sometimes, so when I got it into my head that I wanted and needed this car, I bought it. I found it in the paper, called the number, and went to the house to see it. It looked good, but this is coming from a nineteen year old who knows absolutely zero about cars and just wants to buy one. I saw it that night, drove it around the block, and loved it. It was still sixteen hundred dollars though, so I got nervous buying it. The woman called me the next day.
"So, you want to buy the car?"
"I'm not sure. I don't know if I have sixteen hundred right now."
"Well how much do you have? I trust you. Give me what you have now and give me and you can give me the rest later."
Right here I should have said, 'well that doesn't make sense. The car must be in terrible shape. Good day, lady.' But I didn't. I said, 'I'll take it!'
I pick up the car with my friend who's closet I was living in, and decided that the first song that came on the radio would be the cars song. That song, was The Hollies 'Long Cool Woman'.
Which, thank jesus. It could have been ANYthing. Could have been 'Pictures' by Kid Rock. I like that song, but as a cars theme?
"Alright, guys. Ready to get nuts? Let's start this road trip with the beast!"
*Presses tape into tape deck*
"I put your picture awaaaaay, sat down and cried todaaaaaay.'
"..... Can you take me home, Nathan? I'm feeling sad for some reason."
From then on, the car was referred to as the long cool woman. Which was great, because it's not small. It's a four door family sedan. I had so many ideas for this car. I wanted to lower it. I wanted to tint the windows and paint it black. I wanted to put rims on it. I was 19. I wanted to do all the stupid things that are done to cars. And I was still sleeping in a closet!
"Hey Nathan. You going to sign a lease on a new apartment so you don't have to wake up looking at clothes above your head?"
"Nope. Going to get spinners on this thing from the 90's. Who needs their own room? They spinning!"
This car, being from '93, only had a tape deck. So I bought a tape to discman converter, and velcroed a discman to my dashboard. Dead serious. When I wanted to change the CD, either the person in the passenger seat had to change it, or if I was alone, had to stretch over when I was stopped at a light to get some different songs going. At the time, most different songs meant Mike Jones. Don't care, I love Mike Jones, and I won't pretend that ASAP Rocky didn't take tons of sounds from him. Either way. I loved this car. Just loved it. But it didn't take long for it to start falling apart.
First, the power steering went. I went over a bump, and somehow that cut the power steering cord. Power steering fluid just poured out, and the steering wheel started to seize up. You ever drive a car without power steering? It's like driving a ship on land.
"Avast! Thar be the gas station. Start pullin er into the dock, we're gonna pillage the potato chip aisle. Yar!"
Another problem with this car that I couldn't know at the time I bought it, was that the gas gauge didn't work. It would only work up to half, and then below half you would have to guess at where you were at. This sucked MANY times. I never knew where I was gas wise. Playing Russian roulette with myself.
"Oh, man. How far can we go? It's below half! Way below or like a quarter tank? No damn idea! Turn that Mike Jones up!"
Twice I completely ran out of gas. Once was coming down a hill, and seriously and thankfully, at the bottom was a gas station. I was barely able to pull in there. Second time was on my way to work at 7 am. Pulling out of a parking lot, the car completely died on in the middle of the sidewalk. I was half way in the street, and half way in the parking lot. Had to call a friend to help me push it, then walk to a gas station to fill a can. This part of the car was never fixed.
Didn't know this either when I first bought it, but the brakes were complete trash. Going down a hill once, (most of the issues were on a hill) the brakes just started grinding. Sounded like metal on metal. I was with a friend and I went right to Canadian Tire. Best idea? No, but I was nineteen and clearly didn't care about money at all.
"You can buy these chips for two dollars."
"Here's five, keep it! I'm over paying on car repair, why not everything!"
I was with a friend of mine and told him that I would be alright with any price, as long as it wasn't a thousand dollars. Just then a Canadian Tire employee came out.
"Who owns the '93 cutlass?"
He sits down beside me, and said, 'It's going to cost you a thousand dollars to fix those brakes."
My friend thought was hilarious, started laughing and ran away. I told the guy that I didn't have that, and he said it would be minimum four hundred to fix it. So I paid him four hundred, they fixed the brakes, and me and my friend drove to the casino. I did not win that money back.
If I knew anything at all, when I was bought this car I would have checked the tires. Would have looked at them AT ALL. I didn't, and that came to bite me one day. The tires on this car, were bad. Bad bad. I was driving once, and a front tire exploded. Crazy because that day I had driven EVERYwhere. I had driven people home, I had been on a highway! Not where it popped though, thankfully, and seriously, happened on a side street while I was going down a slight hill. This car was not good on hills.
"Where do you live? Down there? Can't do it in this chariot of bustedness. She can't handle going down."
I ended buying brand new tires, and the car felt great. At this point, I had put more into the car than it cost, and I still, in no way, needed this car. Brand new tires on a car, and my bed was a broken futon in a closet. Ridiculous.
"You have your own car? Sweet. Your place must be great."
"My place is someone else's place. And my room is a room in someone else's room.... Let's stay in the car."
At the end of the day, this car cost me thousands of dollars, with repairs and everything, and when I moved to Toronto I sold it for a thousand. Someone bought it for parts. I had had this car for about seven months. That's it. Seven months with the long cool woman. Still loved that car though, and even though I didn't need it, I'm happy I bought it.