Mllicent is my car. I bought her just over two years ago for seven hundred bucks from a friend in Provincetown. She's a 1996 Mazda 626 and I've put many many tens of thousands of miles on her -- including over 6,000 miles in the month and a half before festival this last year.
So. She and I are having a hard time negotiating responsibilities right now.
Last year, in Portland, she decided to have a sort of depression. She didn't start for four months, and I thought it was going to be something huge, so I didn't cough up the money to get her fixed. When I finally did, turned out to be her battery and spark plugs. They replaced both, and it was $250. Cool.
During that time, though, my insurance lapsed. I'm not gonna pay insurance on a car that's not running. And in Massachusetts, if your insurance lapses, they revoke your registration. Sigh. I tried to register her in Portland, but she wouldn't pass emissions, so I operated her on 20-day temporary trip permits... more on that later.
Less than a month later, she didn't start again. It didn't sound like a battery problem, but we jumped her anyway. After five or ten minutes on the cables, she fired up. I drove her to the same mechanic, and she just kept starting right up. He ran some tests and couldn't find anything wrong with her.
Then I drove her a LOT. Back and forth to Seattle, and across the country to Massachusetts, up and down the cape, then back to Michigan. Right before I left for Michigan, my last trip permit expired. And they don't give you those in Mass. So. I just drove her unregistered.
Once, at Michigan, she didn't start for a few days. I tried jumping her with my mom's car, no luck. A few days later I jumped her with someone else's car and she fired up immediately. Whew. No bus home.
Millicent and I lived in happy harmony again for a long period of time. She drove me back to Massachusetts, up and down the cape, around Providence, and then moved me in to my new house. Right after that, she quit again. What the hell?
I had no money, so she sat there for a while until I could get her towed to a mechanic. Maybe three weeks, she sat there. Doing nothing. Finally, a friend with triple A came over and we towed the car to the mechanic aroudn the corner. He gave me a new fuel filter and air filter, because that might have been it. He couldn't tell cause she started rigt up for him (maybe she's straight?). That was 60 bucks. And it was to forstall the 300 dollar fuel pump job.
My mom took Millicent to school and I drove her to the store once, and then she didn't start again. This time I got her started by raising her back end on a jack (maybe she's not straight after all?) and dropping her back down -- simulating the tow truck. Cool, I thought, it must be the fuel pump... it just needed to slosh around the gas.
So, car goes in, I get an oil change and fuel pump, and then she comes ack to me for $315.
I drove to Providence, then to DK's to work with Erin D. On lunch break, I got pulled over, and Millicent was impounded for being unregistered. God. Damn. It. This part could be three pages. It was hilarious.
Three days later I had gotten new insurance ($40), paid my back excise tax ($260), re-registered her and switched the title to this state ($89), and paid the fees for towing and storage ($180). (Maybe I need to mention that we're kinda poor. Poor people living in a really beautiful house that, because of shit like this, is beyond our means. Also, I'm not working, and my public school teaching mom is supporting us. Anyway....)
Finally! my car was back and as beautiful as ever. Parked right here in front of the house where I could take her anywhere!
The next day I got ready to leave for Boston and she didn't start. I waited for my mom so we could drive to Boston together, and when she got home we tried blow drying Millicent's engine. It worked! We got ready to go, and tthis time Millicent didn't even turn over. The next day I got up at 4 to take mom to work, miss traffic, and get a good day in at DK's, and then come back in time to get mom from school. When we got home, my mom tried the car, and she started right up. Jeesh.
So, this morning I was going to drive Millicent to DK's again. The plan was if she didn't start, I could blow dry her. If that didn't work, I could wait an hour and try again. Well, she didn't start. But at least she is turning over. And it's pouring rain. Now I'm having tea and staring into the dark grey day wondering if it would be worth it to electrocute myself if I got to get in a good day of work afterward.