In the last month, I’ve spent $1,300 at the mechanic’s, but my car’s still not fixed. About $700 in, it died on me, a 20-mile tow away from the repair shop, just two weeks after I canceled my extended AAA policy. After a week in the shop, the professional opinion was that the car might need a new catalytic converter – or not. I opted to wait and see.
Saturday, the car and I sputtered off to do weekly errands. I came out of TJ Maxx headed to the grocery store, climbed in the car and shut the door. Slung over my head and left shoulder was a small, flat purse that falls just below my left hip – the perfect length to become wedged between the door and the adjustment controls on the left side of the driver’s seat. Now this has happened before, always with the same result: the seat back starts adjusting itself, and I experience a moment of confused panic before I figure it out, readjust the seat, and on we go.
I sat there in the car Saturday, the back of the seat whirring forward, folding me up into a pike position, my brain searching frantically for the cause. A couple of very long seconds went by before I had my “aha” moment and pulled the purse loose. The seat stopped.
You know the scene in “Star Wars” where Luke, Leia, Han and Chewy get stuck in the Death Star’s trash compactor? Folded at the hips toward the steering wheel, I pushed the electronic lever that moves the seat back. Nothing happened. The seat went backward, it went forward, it tilted (butt up, butt down). But to remove my body more than 8 inches back from the steering wheel, I have to tilt the seat back so far that I can barely reach the pedals (it’s a manual).
I’m getting used to it, but I’ll have to take it back in. I’m driving carefully; if the airbag deploys I’m a goner. And so, I’m afraid is the car. It’s a 1996 with 151,000 miles, and I paid cash for it 11 years ago. It’s been good to me. But sometimes even the best relationships end ugly.