Just Shelley

Golden Girl: This old broad

If you’ve been reading my weblogs in their various incarnations since the painful beginning, you’ve read me talking about my car, Golden Girl.

Golden Girl isn’t a fancy car. It’s a 4 door 2002 Ford Focus with a Zetec engine and painted in metallic gold. It is my very first car.

No, I’m not so young. I’m just one of those who didn’t decide to drive until I was…well, older than most people when they learn to drive. I started to learn to drive in Boston, practiced cross country, and received my first driver’s license in San Francisco. I bought Golden Girl a few months later via the internet, at a time when this was still a very new idea. I test drove a Focus, but didn’t meet Golden Girl until I picked her up.

My car was my delight. I drove her from California to Missouri, and from Missouri to Idaho, and back to Missouri, and on to Florida, then Missouri, and back to California and then returning, once more, to Missouri. Once in Missouri, I visited every nook and cranny in the state—including many dark hollows posted “Do Not Trespass”, with guard dogs that look at you as if sizing up which part to bite first.

Golden Girl is no longer young. A broken strut earlier has today been joined by a cracked thermostat housing, which followed a massive amount of work last year. There’s a short in the car somewhere, most likely in the instrument cluster that causes the instruments to peg out, go to zero, and then eventually recover. One could live with hyperactive instruments but the car’s lighting also dims as the same time, which can makes things a bit interesting at night.

I take her in to be worked on more frequently than I take her in to have her oil changed. And I no longer trust her for driving outside the city. Heck, half the time I don’t trust her for driving in the city.

I can’t afford to get a new car, and I won’t buy a used car full of someone else’s problems. I have to consider that at this point I’m driving Golden Girl until she can go no further, and then hopefully some charitable organization can get a little extra good from her.

Then I’ll be as I was before I bought Golden Girl—living carless.

It’s hard to think about going without Golden Girl, though. This last decade has not always been easy, with some sad losses along the way, but I’ve always had my car.

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