Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pour one out for Jamboree

I got a new car. But before we get too excited, let’s take a minute to appreciate my old car. I feel like I need to pay her the respect she deserves.
Here she is, fresh from the car wash.
The car I’ve had for the past 13+ years was a 1997 black Honda CR-V. We (*my parents) bought it gently used when I was a senior in college.

I named the car Jamboree. She served me well all these years. I’ve driven up and down and up and down and up and down and up the length of California. I’ve driven to Tahoe and Big Bear and Mammoth in the snow. I’ve packed it full of all my stuff on multiple occasions and moved.
LA to SF move, 2008
I taught one of my nieces to drive in it. I’ve gotten into several accidents (both at fault and non at fault) and walked away uninjured each time. I could fit into tiny parking spaces but also fit large pieces of furniture in the back.

And, as Jamboree and I both got older, I could park obnoxiously close to douchebags who felt entitled to take up more than their fair share of the parking lot with their douchebag fancy cars. I didn’t care if my door got dinged or whatever, Oh? You’re going to park IN THE MIDDLE OF two clearly marked parking spaces, here’s my shitty old car RIGHT UP IN YOUR BIDNESS. YOU DON’T GET TO PARK LIKE AN ASSHOLE ON MY WATCH.

Over time, Jamboree gained a lot of, ah, shall we say, character. One by one, all of the “creature comforts,” as my mother calls them, started failing. The clicker stopped opening the back hatch and then it stopped locking or unlocking the car. The passenger side mirror was shattered. The windshield was cracked. If it rained outside, it also rained on the passenger side floor. The air conditioner would only work if I was on the highway. The CD player would get stuck and refuse to play either the CD or the radio until I jammed an old hotel key card into it to jiggle things loose. I decided to embrace the quirkiness and covered Jamboree with USC bumper stickers and got a vanity license plate.
Fight On!
When Niall and I moved in together, we moved into a nice apartment in a nice area, or so we thought. We did not realize that the “nice” area was actually right on the cusp of a not so nice area. Which is fine, whatever. Except that we have two cars. Both of us need cars for work (I could go on a long tangent here about public transportation in SF and why the two of us specifically need our cars, but can you just take my word for it?). Our new apartment had a 1 car garage, which was GREAT. Niall tried to pull his car into it and ended up scraping the passenger side mirror and the driver’s side door because the garage is NARROW. So I started parking my car in there.
And then… Niall’s car got broken into 3 times over the course of 2 months. So we swapped. Niall learned how to squeeze his wider-than-the-garage-door car into the garage, presumably by some wizardry, and I started parking my car on the street. I decided to just leave the doors unlocked, but then I got to my car one morning to find it full of garbage and reeking of cigarette smoke, so okay fine I’ll lock it. And then it was broken into twice.
And a good morning to you as well.

And then the battery was stolen once. And THEN, one fateful November morning, I walked up to the spot where I had parked my car and it was just… gone.



Dude, where’s my car?

I called Niall on the off chance that he had moved my car in the middle of the night for some reason. Nope. I walked up and down the little street to make sure I hadn’t left it in a different spot and forgotten. Nope. I called the city to make sure it hadn’t been towed. Nope. ALL SIGNS POINTED TO STOLEN. Somebody stole my 1997 Honda with 255,000 miles on it.

I took a Lyft to the police station and reported the car as stolen. And then I went home and found us a new apartment on Craigslist.
I reported the thievery to my insurance company and picked up a rental car. And then I was stuck in limbo for some unidentified amount of time until the insurance company would declare my car a “Total Loss.”

After three or four days I was CERTAIN my car was in pieces spread far and wide, but I kept waiting. AND THEN. One morning I was on my way to work when my friend Daniel called me. I figured it was a butt dial, but no! HE FOUND MY CAR. He was cycling to work and noticed a junky old Hondy CR-V plastered with USC stickers. HE FOUND MY CAR.
The car was totally fine! It was still in San Francisco, parked in a neighborhood, WITH A FULL TANK OF GAS. I looked like somebody was using my car like it was THEIR car. I don’t know what they were using to start the car, but apparently you can start an old Honda with, like, a screwdriver. ANYWAY, I called the police and told them I had found the car. They sent a cop over and released the car back into my custody. I gotta say, I wasn’t too impressed with the SFPD. I had reported my car as stolen and it turned up still in San Francisco. They obviously weren’t looking very HARD for it. And the cop basically glanced at my car and gave me a piece of paper. Call me naïve, but I thought he might go knocking on some nearby doors or dust the car for fingerprints or… ANYTHING AT ALL.
(Here is the part in my story where people like to point out that car theft is SO common that the police just don’t even have the time or resources to deal with it and I reject this because, come on. I feel like doing NOTHING AT ALL to isn’t going to stop many car thieves. But whatever [sarcastic jazz hands].)

Anyhow, I had my Jamboree back! It had a few new bumps and bruises, but nothing too serious.
I got a club.
For a few months everything was great!

And then Jamboree started making a sound like an old fashioned automobile. Chugga chugga chugga AWOOGA. I took it into my regular car place and they told me it was the muffler, but that I should take it to a muffler shop since they could only replace the whole [something] that would cost a lot more than just replacing whatever part of the muffler was malfunctioning. So I took Jamboree to the muffler shop where the mechanic seemed to take personal offense at the suggestion that it might be the muffler, “Who told you that? Did they actually DRIVE the car and hear the noise? Did they just ASSUME it was the muffler? Where’s their evidence.” After a few minutes of deer-in-the-headlights stammering, I sweetly offered to give Mr. Muffler the phone number for Mr. Auto Shop so they could hash things out, but muffler man declined. After a thorough exam, he concluded that he didn’t know where the sound was coming from but it was Definitely Not the Muffler.

Okay, fine.

So I just ignored it. And it went away!

Only to be replaced with THIS noise:

I promise you, I was not transporting a sea lion.

So Niall and I discussed it and we decided that it was time for me to get a new car. While Niall would have been happy to see Jamboree sold for parts, I was wringing my hands and having an emotional crisis. My carrrrrr. My Jamboreeeeee. She had been such a good carrrrrrr. I loved that car and nobody would appreciate it like me, would they?

As you may or may not know, I have a slew of nieces and nephews, several of whom are teenagers right now. I decided to give Jamboree to my next niece in line who is turning 16. She is pretty thrilled.

And fortunately, my dad seems to have the same sentimental streak as I do (or is it the other way around?). He took the car to his mechanic where they fixed, wait for it, the BRAKES AND STEERING. When I asked what I owed him, my dad said “Nothing! We have to keep Jamboree in the family!” So, to recap, I have a new car, my niece has a new old car, and my dad is the most generous man in the world.
Goodbye Jamboree, you've been an excellent car. Be good to my niece.