Wheels

5 Nov

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When I chose Denver as my new homebase, it never even occurred to me that the public transportation in this metropolitan city might not be quite as stellar as that in Boston. I knew there would be no subway, but Colorado has such a reputation for active and environmentally conscious people, I imagined they’d at least have a decent bus schedule and an accessible light rail. But it turns out, not so much.

After a couple weeks of trying to get places around the city via unreliable buses, of standing around at bus stops to change buses in a storm and then still having to hoof it multiple blocks to where I actually wanted to go? My inclination was leaning a little more toward over it. As mysterious and European as it initially seemed, I was feeling more and more like an International Woman of Mystery would never put up with this crap. One cannot spend hours sitting on a bus every day when there’s a whole world to see. It simply isn’t productive. Not when I need to be out kicking ass and saving the world.

In Boston I shared a car with Mr. Poison but it never really seemed like it was my car. He made sure to point out to me regularly that he had paid for it and would chide me if I so much as left a pile of magazines on the passenger seat or let the gas gauge get below three-quarters of a tank. Once he caught me buying gas that wasn’t premium unleaded and gave me a lecture about how I was really just going to cost us extra maintenance in the long run. Eventually it became more trouble than it was worth to use the car and I started riding my bike. But sadly I had to leave my bike behind in Boston.

And so, my hunt for a mystery mobile commenced.

I went car shopping with my dad once or twice when I was younger, so this wasn’t my first rodeo. Still, it had been awhile since I’d had to do this for myself. Another obstacle: the fact that I hadn’t planned on buying a car and am already quite broke from apartment shopping. I briefly entertained the notion of trying out my schmoozing skills at a car dealership, but that struck me as being in the upper echelon of advanced missions. I decided to acknowledge my limitations and went straight to Craigslist. Ran a search that was within my meager budget and emailed prospective car sellers that seemed the least murdery.

A few hours later, a nice, elderly couple convened with me at a Target parking lot to let me inspect their little black 2005 Jetta and they departed with the last of my non-emergency savings. I shook hands with them. They wished me luck in Denver and handed me the keys.

During the first few hours driving my new ride around, I was already loving the new feeling of power. The speed and control. The thrill of no longer being a passenger, but the driver. Jenny G: International Woman of Mystery at the wheel.

That is, until it started stuttering and refusing to accelerate at random on day two. I panicked. Something was wrong with the car. Without my dad around to look at it, without Mr. Poison’s annoying ability to detect even the slightest hint of car trouble (Can’t you hear that knocking sound? He’d exclaim, aghast. How could you ignore that? You need to tell me when these things happen!) Without a white knight to swoop in and take care of it, what the hell was I going to do now? Or at least that’s what I would have thought before Jenny G.

An International Woman of Mystery is resourceful and never panics. Not even in the face of utmost crisis. I would figure this out.

It was actually quite simple. I was once again able to utilize the powers of the Internet and found a nearby garage via Yelp. I calmly called, explained my issue to the receptionist and made an appointment. Took my emergency credit card out of its secret hiding place and steeled myself for the worst.

When I got to the garage I was actually pleasantly surprised at how clean and legitimate it was. I was prepared for a bit more excitement in my day but the whole thing ended up being somewhat anticlimactic. Turns out the Mystery Mobile only needed a new battery and was otherwise in pretty good health. They also changed my oil and fixed a broken tail light for no extra charge. I drove off the lot with renewed zest for the open road. Or was it the lemon pine air fresheners they’d not so subtly hung from my rearview mirror? (Also free of charge!)

I had cleared my work schedule for half the day to take care of the car, but now I had extra time and decided I would give the car some love. Mr. Poison used to obsessively clean our car and would often drag me to those self-wash places because he didn’t trust anyone (not even me) to do it just right. If anything I think I rebelled against his cleanliness by leaving even more messes in the car. But not the Mystery Mobile. I needed to shine her up and make sure she was in tip-top shape for all of our exploits to come. First stop: the automatic car wash.

After a quick wash and wax, I vacuumed the inside myself. (International Woman of Mystery Tip: Do not forget to remove chic flowing scarves before operating a commercial hand-vac.). Last but not least, I located an Autozone where I bought some new floor mats and washer fluid. I even found some interior cleaning wipes that smell exactly like Chanel No.5 perfume . Sisters are doing it for themselves.

Ciao,
Jenny G.

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