Mechanics Shiftier Than Your Stick Shift

Having a car on campus was a pain I would never want to relive, however having one off campus hasn’t been much better.

Living in a home with one driveway that fits three cars comfortably, and four cars if one is willing to sacrifice itself and move into the garage, which then means the garage door is resting nicely on one’s trunk, is another option.

When you are late for work, your boss definitely doesn’t take, “I had to move two cars just to get mine on the road!” as a valid excuse.

It isn’t really that fun either, especially when you are leaving for work at four am and are watching your friends stumble home from a great night on the town.

When you have a car, you also tend to slowly move in, I had three quarters of my wardrobe in the back of my car, as well as my bike rusted onto the roof rack, for the majority of this past summer.

In the winter you have to shovel your car out of the sticky mess it always gets into, and warm it up for ten minutes before you drive it because it might as well be older than you.

My car in particular seems to have a curse on it. First this summer the clutch went, after reliving the glory days of my AAA tow truck driver on the way to the garage, I was thankful that my car would be fixed and back on the road in no time.

Meanwhile, I had a lovely fifteen mile ride on my bike to work and back, but when I got home my car was fixed and it only cost me one week’s paycheck.

Nonetheless I had my car back and was so relieved that I spent two hours cleaning it out and one bottle of rust remover to get my bike off.

School starts and things get more complicated with schedules and outrageous gas prices, but I manage until one day I get a phone call that while attempting to reverse my car out of the driveway (my car being relatively old and difficult to drive because of the weirdness of Saab’s reverse and ignition connection) my entire stick for my stick shift was ripped off.

Now I really didn’t believe it either till I saw my stick shift sitting on the driver’s seat not attached to anything, but truth be told it can happen!

So after another lovely towing trip by AAA I get a call that they have fixed the shifter but in the process found about three other things wrong with my car, this time probably amounting to a two- week paycheck.

At this point I wonder, is my old Saab really worth this much? Until I remember that without a car I would have no way of getting to work, and without work I would have no way of getting money, which without money I would have no way to live or attempt to try to save up for another car so at this point my Saab is worth the fix.

However, now I am starting to wonder about the mechanics down at Handy’s garage, do all these things really need to be fixed?

Am I getting a good deal? Or is Handy’s taking advantage of the ignorance of a young college girl? The last straw was one freezing morning at four am when I attempt to start the infamous car to find that it will not turn over, but it also will not now turn off the electricity, wonderful I think and my roommate who is parked behind me needs to leave at eight to get to work!

Once again I call AAA, who actually seems to know my name and car by now and because I do not know any other mechanics in Burlington, go once again to Handy’s.

Where not surprisingly six things are now wrong with my car and it will cost me a three week paycheck to fix this one. I would have left my car there, I would have walked away, if it were not for the fact that I was supposed to drive home that day because the semester was over and God did I need to get away from Burlington.

The car gets fixed, a new ignition and reverse gear, and I get in it and start the four hour trip home to CT, when about a half an hour into the trip I suddenly have no fourth gear, and my car will not stop violently shaking anytime I approach 55 mph.

All I can think is that Handy’s must have done something wrong when they put in the new reverse gear, which just happens to be right next to the fourth gear in a Saabs gear box. The shaking never happened before, and I also always had fourth gear.

I continue home hoping that maybe when I get there the curse will float onto someone else, and my father being the good man he is calls the garage and explains the situation.

They agree that it was their fault and say to bring it in and they will fix it free of charge when I get back up to school.

A month later I am driving up to school and set up an appointment for my car, which right on time decides to break down in Shelburne so AAA comes to the rescue again.

This time the alternator and the battery are gone, so I get it fixed (another outrageous bill) and go to pick up my car only to be told that the fourth gear and the shaking had nothing to do with Handy’s work on my reverse, and basically tough luck.

So here I am now, I basically have an old car with all new parts after all the work, except I can’t go faster than 55mph and have no fourth gear and the men who broke my car, those same people who were supposed to fix it can just shrug me off.

What do I know; I am just an ignorant young college girl, right?