This is why:

That’s my driveway! I was coming home after work, a little tired and a lot inattentive, and when I turned left into the driveway unexpected (!) things happened. Namely, a one-ton Dodge dually with a welded-steel bumper intruded upon my personal space.

It’s not nearly as bad as it looks. The accident happened at very low speed; the damage is largely from the fact that a one-ton Dodge dually with a welded steel bumper and a welded steel flatbed on it has a lot of momentum, even at low speed. The thing just kept coming… I wouldn’t have been injured at all, just pushed aside, if I hadn’t had the center console down. As it was, crushed between the door and the console, I got my short ribs on the left side cracked, and one broken. This all happened back on June 28th, so I’ve long since healed up.

The Department of Public Safety ( = “highway patrol”, in Texas) officer who showed up kept shaking his head. He ultimately wrote it up as no fault of anybody, which meant that it was no use filing anything with the other fellow’s insurance company. I haven’t even tried. The bent hulk is still sitting in my yard, with a “blue tarp” over the wounded side. Anybody need parts for a 1994 Buick Century?

(As an aside: The DPS officer’s last name is “Dudley”. Can you imagine why he might be wearing every badge of rank and/or service award possible for somebody who’s still on patrol?)

So, after a couple weeks struggling with the ’74 Ford pickup, which gets 8 miles to the gallon downhill, has no two tires alike, and is completely lacking bushings in the front suspension, I bought a car. This one:

For those of you who don’t recognize it, it’s a 1989 Buick Reatta. A Reatta is what you get if you’re growing Rivieras and pick one green — a two-seater, but with all the bells and whistles of its parent car except that the glove-box latch is mechanical, plus retractable headlights.

It cost $500. I then ended up spending almost $1K to get the air conditioner working — this is Texas, it’s summertime, and the car is black; air conditioning is not a luxury. Part of that G went to getting the controls to work. The car has a CRT with a touchscreen in the center of the dash, and that’s the controls for almost everything except lights and windshield wipers, and mine died. I found one from a ’90 Riviera on the Internet for $100; the labels are wrong, but it works just fine.

But it’s still a $500 car. It has five computers (that I’ve found so far), and all of them are bugf*k insane from not being stroked and petted by previous owners. I had to pull the fuse for the security system, which insisted on locking the car at the most inopportune times, and I don’t have the door key, let alone the control fob. It needs a coil pack and wires; it needs a fuel pump, which I started to replace and discovered I no longer have the ass to manhandle antiroll stabilizer bars; the trunk won’t open without crawling inside and operating the kidnap latch; the gas gauge points resolutely to naught at all times; the right-hand door is a quarter inch too far forward, and catches on (and breaks) the plastic fender panel; the interior lights come on when you open the right door, but not the left one; other issues to numerous to mention. It gets 16 MPG in town and 23 on the highway, not that I drive it on the highway much.

It’s a fun car.

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