While running errands the other day, I noticed my Jeep’s heater wasn’t working very well. From the parking lot of Bisson’s Meat Market, I texted Handy and he met me at the house a few hours later. He put some anti-freeze in the radiator and the following Monday, he took the Jeep to Quality Care Auto in Lisbon.
When he stopped by for afternoon coffee, he said “we’ve got to talk.”
Handy had a long list of things that needed fixing. We went over the list and Handy outlined which problems he could fix and which ones he couldn’t. He then estimated the general price range of the remaining punch list.
I was shocked. We had just driven to the ends of the earth and back and now the Jeep was on its last legs and in need of some expensive repairs. Handy tried to console me, but I was devastated. My voice was shaking when I asked “do you think it’s time to get a new car?”
Handy nodded and said “you might want to start thinking about it.”
I thought I was going to cry because I love my Jeep.
Women have been driving since the invention of the automobile. Mrs. Karl Benz, possibly the first motorized Lady Alone Traveler, jumped into one of her husband’s “motorwagens” and headed off from Mannheim to visit her parents in Pforzheim. Bertha’s trip pioneered additional improvement to Karl’s invention and voila! Happy motoring was born.
My father gave me my first auto, a big safe Oldsmobile. King of the road it was. I’m sure he wanted nothing but for me to travel safely and arrive alive at my every destination. But I never consulted him about buying cars after this. I relied on my own devices, opting for such unwise choices as a Pontiac Fiero and a Ford Mustang GT.
One of my friends finally convinced me to buy a Jeep. She and her husband explained how a Jeep was good in the snow and steady on the road. It was right after my divorce and I was vulnerable; looking for security. That Jeep, a 1994 Grand Cherokee, transported me safely and securely along many less-traveled roads. A short detour driving a Mazda resulted in the purchase of my second Jeep and here I am eight years later facing another car buying decision.
“But Handy, that Jeep has been like a husband to me!”
Handy, ever steady and logical, outlined a number of options. He also asked questions about what things I thought I wanted in a car. Then he confessed that he was not a fan of Jeeps. You see, Handy drives an old Dodge Caravan. No “muscle car” or a “man mobile” for him. The Caravan serves his purposes as well as any truck. And because he removed the back seat, he can carry tools, equipment, and even pieces of sheet rock.
Handy is not married to his Dodge Caravan. It’s not part of his identity.
The end of the Lady Alone Traveler Jeep era looms on the horizon.
The prospect of this change is unsettling for me, but fortunately Handy has gently deconstructed things and reminded me that much of this is just “feelings.” Will I end up in a smart and sassy foreign auto? Or a new American ride?
Time will tell and so will I!