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No, the car is not for sale
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
Iíve always had a problem with clutter. I donít know where it came from. I remember in elementary school my desk was always stuffed full of paper until it reached crisis mode.
My room was the same way. Stuff that I saved for the future, because it seemed like a good bargain at the time, never got used in my fabulous new apartment, because I never moved out of the house. I tried to use them in the house, but looking at them seemed disappointing.
Does the stuff represent security? Does it represent a mental problem? Every so often I go to Ikea and see how it could be; a modern, clean, sleek existence, with a place for everything and everything in its place. Then I come back home to reality: empty cardboard boxes in the living room to be used in a future craft project that might not ever come to be because I work three jobs; piles of unopened mail on the table beside the door; heaps of clean laundry on the couch. When five people lived here, the house didnít look nearly this bad.
And then there are my cars. Iíve relied on my Geo Metro for the last 17 years. The phenomenal gas mileage and endurance qualifies it as the best investment Iíve ever made. But lately, thereís something wrong. The electrical system seems to quit at odd times. Sometimes I get to my destinations with no problem. Other times, I have to honk the horn in order to get the car started. And sometimes, the car will start, but the door open light and the brake light will be on, and the heater wonít work. Clearly, it was time to get my other car fixed.
Iíd put this off for several years, but I finally had it towed to someone recommended to me by a co-worker. I donít remember the car having the dent in the rear fender BEFORE I gave it to them, but maybe Iím wrong. The car was running again, and since the weather was cooperating and I had energy, I decided to clean out both cars. The Neon was easy; just a couple of towels, a sweater and a newspaper dated October 12, 2006, made up the bulk of clutter. I dusted the dash, the doors and cleaned the windows before switching over to the Metro.
Years of eating messy foods in the vehicle, plus an accumulation of newspapers, books, jackets, tires (finding wheels for the Metro is hard; so in case of a flat, I have tires with me) newsletters, cassette tapes, pens and unexplained things like bread crusts in a Ziploc baggie made for a frankly disgusting experience. Aside from being a slob, I certainly have eclectic tastes when it comes to reading. Hereís just a few of the books that I found in the Metro: Sabotage in the American Workplace; Cheap; Retail Hell; Nancy Reagan, The Unauthorized Biography; The Stalking of Kristin; How to Survive Federal Prison Camp; Fat Girl; The Shining; Karla; Dear Lovey Heart, I am Desperate; The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon; Tangles; and Fifteen. The car looked a bit better, but I need to vacuum it out. However, after making the Metro a bit less than a landfill on wheels, I had a headache and wanted to wash the Neon. After not driving it for almost five years, it felt like a new car.
People have asked me if Iím going to sell one of my cars, but I donít think I will. The Metro is rather iffy in terms of starting (and Iím worried about it stalling in congested construction zones) but proved its worth during a jaunt to a home improvement store. A sale on large mirrors would fulfill the goal I had into turning one of my spare bedrooms into a library/workout room. I found exactly what I wanted at an unbeatable price. Only one problem: they would not fit into the Neon. I went home to fetch the Metro, and the mirrors just barely fit into the back. But I got them home. Sadly, I chipped a corner of one of the mirrors trying to get it into the house. I was furious with myself, but since I couldnít mount them both side by side (they were a quarter inch too wide) I figured I could try cutting the mirror so it would fit.
So no, I wonít be selling one of the cars. While the Neon is faster and roomier, the Metro makes it look like a gas guzzler. Plus despite it being tiny, the space in the back means the Geo, not the Neon, is the car of choice when shopping at Ikea, or going garage sale-ing.
As I wrote this column, someone knocked on the door. I didnít bother to answer. Iím not sure what the guy wanted, but since the last person who knocked on the door wanted to know if I would sell one of my cars, I figured it would be more of the same. The legendary Neon folks in my neighborhood have been talking about has risen from the ashes. And no, neither one of my cars is for sale.