The Choice

  Today I purchased another car. A 1994 Ford Escort LX. Here she is...

  First impressions are good. Decent handling and acceleration, good brakes, and a simple but endearing style. The car is in excellent shape, and was absolutely a steal at $710. I'm not in love yet, but I think it will happen.

  This is, of course, a happy occasion, but it also leads to a quandry. Sitting next to the Escort is my Ford Probe. There should also be a Geo Storm on the opposite side, but there isn't. The Storm is no more, after only a month in my possesion. I barely knew her, but in the brief time we shared the road she touched my soul. She was one hell of a car, and will be sorely missed.

  The Probe has been sitting in the same parking spot for over a month, motionless. The engine works, but the transmission doesn't. Last month she dies on my way home from work. A new ignition system ($625) and battery (drained from the emergency flashers being on overnight and no longer holding a charge, $40), and the Probe would start. She just wouldn't move. In addition, needed in the very near future are new CV joints (around $600) and new shocks and struts (about $400). Add in the estimated $1000 bill for the tranny, and you have a grand total 0f $2,665 to fix a car I purchased for $600 a year ago.

  Logic says it's not worth it. It would make more sense to get rid of the car than soldier on in the hope of fixing her. Repairing a transmission that I want to eventually replace with a manual is another strike against the Probe. Surely, Spock would say "Sell."

  But, the heart speaks just as loudly on the Probe's behalf. The car has been my faithful companion for a year now. There's beauty in the sheetmetal, even with the scrapes and bumps left by the previous owners, and underneath there's true beauty. The mechanical symphony that resonates from the engine bay, the interaction of the car and the road that feels so right (when the suspension's up to snuff), and the tactile feel of the human-vehicle interace that melds man and machine seamlessly. This car, this broken machinery, is something to preserve and cherise, says the heart.

  Hard numbers. Deep emotions. One choice. A decision I don't want to make.


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