A few months ago, when I took my grandma to get her hair glued on, my ghetto buggy car was making a weird noise. So on the way home I stopped to see my dad, who gave me another car to drive while he looked at it. The second car actually used to be mine--well, after my dad bought it for his girlfriend, then dumped her and took it back, and gave it to me, and then took it back for himself because .... I don't know why, actually. And I liked driving this other car--all the gauges work! I know how fast I'm going, and how far I've gone, and how far I can go. Unlike the GB, which always says the tank is empty, it's going 0 mph, and that it hasn't gone more than 250,000 miles in the last three years. As an added bonus, this other car has a CD player and a good sound system, though that's obviously not so important.

Well, two Fridays ago, when I was leaving work, the damned thing wouldn't start. I got a ride home, and the next day my cousin picked me up and took me to my dad's for a family get-together. After that, he and his wife took my to my dad's shop to get the GB .... which started just fine, but after I stopped to say goodbye, it started acting up. It would start, but it kept stalling out. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck. So they took me home, and my dad was going to bring me another vehicle, and then I'd have to take him to his shop, and then come home, and then go to work later.

Luckily for me, my other cousin was bored and came to visit the next day. So after hanging out at my house, she drove me to pick up the third vehicle in as many days, which is what I had for more than week. I appreciate my dad loaning me a vehicle; I'm glad I had a way to get to work. But I didn't enjoy driving this van--it felt like driving a holey box on wheels, while sitting in a rocking chair. Not in an unsafe way, exactly, but in the way of an older, uncomfortable vehicle. It also smells funny (like paint fumes, roadkill, and dust) and gets crappy gas mileage.

Last Friday, I had lunch with my mom and her husband. When we came out of the restaurant and she saw what I was driving, so had a fit--my dad's had that van since before they split up, and she had to drive it a few times. In the middle of the parking lot she started ranting, and then ranting in Spanish to her husband about it, asking him about some car they have that they were going to sell. Originally he said they needed to get their $500 back from it, which didn't seem unreasonable to me--it's not like they're well-to-do.

But when I broached the subject to my dad, wanting to know if he knew if Grand Ams are reliable cars, he got all pissed off. He started in on a bitter rant about how she should just give me the car, and something about her still "getting in his pocket"--even though what I asked was if it was worth it for ME to save up--and something about "Oh, so your daddy can afford to buy you an eight or ninth car!" I just let it go, because he was clearly not in a good mood--but he was exaggerating. My first car, my Mustang, he built himself--which is obviously a huge time commitment and expensive too, but that was his choice to give me as a sixteenth birthday present. It was also his choice to take that away from me and replace it with a two-door little Saturn.

When that got smashed up while parked on a street during a horrible snowstorm, we used the insurance money to buy a second Saturn. When that one got totaled as well (stupid flimsy fiberglass panels), he bought another car with that insurance money. When that car caught on fire going down the highway, he gave me a car he'd originally bought for my mother years before--which started out as a decent car, and is now known as the Ghetto Buggy. And then there was The Girlfriend's Car. So yes, he's kept me in cars since I turned sixteen, but it's not like he's bought an endless stream of cars, for me, out of pocket.

Yesterday at work, I got a text from my mom saying she's going to give me this other car. I know nothing about it except it's a Grand Am, it's some shade of green, and .... yeah, that's it. And I don't really feel comfortable accepting it for a lot of reasons. Part of it is because my dad's always been the one I relied on for help with vehicles. Part of it is that even though she's planning to just give it to me, he's still being all cynical and pessimistic about it--"How good could a 16 year old car be?" (Gee, I don't know--at least as good at the 19 year-old ghetto buggy I'd been driving? Or the 19 year-old car I'm driving now? Oh, wait--he's assuming she got it from a Hispanic person who ran it into the ground first, that's the problem.)

Part of the reason is also because I do realize that at my age I should be able to buy myself a car. And I'm working to get to that point. And this will help--my mom is going to put this car in my name, so I'd actually be able to trade it in, unlike the ghetto buggy which was never put in my name. So once I'm able to swing a car payment (hopefully soon), I just have to wait for the right trade in deal.

But most of the reason I feel uncomfortable about it is because of her husband. It's not that I dislike him personally; I don't know him, really. He doesn't speak enough English for me to really talk to him. And I know he's the one who found the car, and he's the one who put a stereo in it because my mom knows I'd want one, and he's the one who's taking it to someone to check that it runs as well as he thinks. I feel uncomfortable asking for help from anyone for anything--so to be given a car by someone who I really don't know? Very awkward.

But I can't turn it down without hurting my mom's feelings, because I know she's really happy she's finally in a position to help me with something. And also because I could never explain all this to her--she's always telling me how her husband cares about me like family, and then she'd give me crap about why don't I learn more Spanish and then I could talk to him.

So .... apparently, I'll have another car soon.

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