Welcome to Commuter Hell

We are not what you would call car people. The last time we owned a car was back in Slippery Rock, PA in the winter of 1991. It was a junker that we picked up for $500 to get us back and forth to school in the winter. By the early spring, we found out that the car's transmission was being held in by a block of wood. In the late spring, we sold the car to a used car dealer, made a couple of hundred dollars and decided that we got the better end of the deal.

I didn't even get my license until 1993.

Now, we live in a city where every family owns at least one car... and since most Hartford residents work in the surrounding towns, it's necessary. So, in preparation to moving to Hartford, Janet and I tasked my mother with the search for a car.

A few days after calling her, she had found us what seemed to be a perfect car, being sold by an upstanding car dealer with a good reputation in the community. $1500 later ($1000 for the car, $500 for needed body work), we were the proud owners of a 1993 Honda Civic DX.

That was early May. Fast forward to May 27, the day we picked the car up from the body shop... and the first time we ever saw the car.

First off, the car is a bit dented... which we found out is because it was stolen and found abandoned on the street by the police. It's missing the passenger side mirror... which isn't the biggest problem, because the passenger side door isn't the same color as the rest of the car (the car is navy, yet the door is charcoal). It's dirty, smelly, and the radio doesn't work. We were quite unhappy.

The 10 mile drive from the shop to the house was a nightmare. The car rattled, creaked and started to overheat. Janet (who was driving at the time) said that it felt like the car was going to stall at any moment. We made it back to the apartment and just sort of shook our heads in disbelief: we owned yet another junker.

It's now three weeks later and our perception of this plucky little Honda has changed. A fill-up with premium and some dry gas took care of the stalling and rattling problem... and a good dose of water and coolant took care of the overheating. Heck, even the door color isn't a problem because it helps me find the car in the parking lot to my office. Sure, the wheels need to be aligned and the radio needs to be replaced, but all in all, it's mechanically sound... and that's all that matters to me. Every day I put almost 50 miles on my Civic, and isn't really giving me any significant trouble... I just need to give it high-test and a give the radiator its weekly refill (no, it doesn't leak... we're still trying to figure this one out), and it rewards me by getting me to work on time.

I think I like owning a car.

But as essentially a first time driver, dealing with the other thousands of cars on the street is an interesting challenge. This chronicle will tell the story of the people, places and general annoyances involved with my time behind the wheel.

-- Avery

7/18/99 - Road Rage
7/4/99 - Maybe this is a sign...
6/23/99 - It's dead, Jim.
6/22/99 - The end is near! Repent!
6/14/99 - I don't think that it should be smoking like that...