I’ve had a lot of cars in my life – some good, some bad, some new (well, one) and all the rest used. The newest addition to my list of cars is a little white Fiat panda that served as a garage courtesy car/workhorse so there are no back seats, just a big trunk space. My seat covers are black and have X Racer printed on them in red and white. There is no power steering! Julia is thrilled – she always wanted a car she had to muscle around – “It looks like I’m really driving,” she said to me in a satisfied tone of voice. “I always wanted to drive a car with no power steering.” God, I feel so old.
My last car was my husband’s hand-me-down Peogeot 1007, and as much as I liked driving that car, I hated its sliding doors. They tried to innovate and created a car that you couldn’t get in or out of. I was always terrified I’d get in an accident and be stuck and no one would be able to save me – so when it finally died I did a happy dance (out of sight of hubby- he was not ready to get another car). But right away we found this little Fiat Panda, my third ever Fiat. My first one was a station wagon, my second was my only ever brand new car that my babysitter totalled (thank goodness no one was hurt) – we were all in England and she was supposed to keep it running – she ran into a scooter and then hit a wall. She totalled the scooter, wall, and car. She rescued the autoradio and brought it to me. “Here, I saved this,” she said, and put it on the counter. It fell off onto the stone floor and shattered into a million pieces. So much for my new car.
Then we had an old (and I mean old) Mercedes station wagon.When I had it (hubby got a new car) it started to squeak. No, not squeak – it was ear-splitting. I was absolutely embarrassed to drive it through the village while the fanbelt screeched. And then it would just stop – in the middle of nowhere. I had to call the garage to come tow us. There were five big dents in that car. Each one was from me kicking it in sheer frustration.
When we finally sold it on (I think the neighbors cheered when it left the village) we got another station wagon, only this one was an Opel. It was fine – until Alex drove it into the back of a truck one day – the truck had been parked in the middle of the road and the light dazzled Alex as he swung around the corner. Again, thank goodness no one was hurt.
Sebi wrecked my second little Fiat. The one I got to replace the car that was stolen on New Year’s Eve.
I had a Renault Laguna that had no heat. If you turned the heat on, the air conditioner blasted – and it was bitterly cold that winter. Gas is expensive here in France, and that car guzzled gas. I used to let it get right now to empty before filling it up again. One night I drove home with an empty tank, as usual; left the car outside the house. The next day, it was gone. New Year’s eve – lots of people in the town, lots of noise, we never noticed. The police found the car a day later only about fifteen miles away, in the middle of no where, trashed. I was happy to think of the car thieves trying desperately to turn on the heat. And then running out of gas.
So let’s see – my babysitter totalled my first Fiat, Alex totalled my Opal, and Sebi put a huge dent in my second Fiat – so I gave it to him. “here Sebi, have a car. You pay for insurance now.” And now I have Fiat # 3. Auguste is very happy – he rides in the back and has the whole trunk to himself. We’re going to put a green rug in, so he’ll be more comfortable.