Daisy Bateman

The Issue of the Car

I think I’ve mentioned that this is going to be a driving trip, so one might assume that there would be a car involved. So far, one would be wrong. My primary problem is, while I do want to drive across the country, I’m not particularly interested in driving back. You see the problem. Also, my car has a variety of issues that make it a bad choice for a five thousand-mile trip, such as non-functional windshield wipers, no AC (not installed) or heater (broken) and a tendency to break down coupled with a difficulty to get parts (it’s a 28-year-old Porsche). So that’s out, even if I could find a way to get it back home. So that leaves me with three potential plans, ranked in order of their likelihood of success.

Plan A) Buy a car here and sell it when I get to Florida. The idea is that I would buy a 6-8 year old nice, ordinary car with maybe 60,000 miles, something that gets good gas mileage and the resale value wouldn’t be affected by adding another 5,000 miles or so to the odometer. Upside: It would probably work, would require no change to my present plans. Downside: It’s a risk of about $6000 dollars, cars in Florida go for less than they do in California (due to emission requirements), so I’m looking at a loss of about $500, there’s no guarantee I would be able to sell the car.

Plan B) Borrow my mom’s car (a Jeep Cherokee), leave it with my grandfather in Fort Meyers, convince my brother that what he really wants to do on his way back from Sweden this summer is drive across the country or, failing that, take a break to come home, and then go back and drive it myself. Upside: No financial risk, minimal change in my plans (unless Zach decides he’d rather plan his own summer), possibility that Z. might want to have his own (really nice) car, allowing me to drive it out. Downside: Requires convincing my younger brother to do something, or do more driving than I really want to, the Jeep gets lousy mileage (enough to make up the $500 difference from Plan A? I’m not sure).

Plan C) Post on Craigslist asking if anyone wants their car driven to Florida and doesn’t mind if it takes a month. I pay gas. Upside: No one has to drive the car back. Downside: It seems massively unlikely that I will find such a person. I’ve posted anyway, because, what the heck, but I haven’t had much interest. In fact, the only things my posting have gained me are one person who wants some stuff moved to Orlando and one really nasty email that’s made me feel lousy about this whole endeavor. Here’s what happened: Saturday night I put my post in the rideshare section of craigslist. It says, basically, that I am driving to the east coast and looking for someone who wants their car moved, that I’m headed for Florida and can’t drive stick. Sunday morning I get an email from someone looking to have their car moved to New York. I write back and say sure, (it’s kind of out of my way, but I haven’t been there since I was a kid). I tell them I have a clean driving record, but I’m planning to stop along the way and it’s likely to take about a month. Here’s the email I got back:
how dare you suggest such a thing? (Lack of capitalization is theirs, not mine.) no one is going to let you go touring around the country in their car
I think there was more, but since I deleted the email I don’t have it to share.
I’m not sure what bothers me the most about this, the implication that I am some kind of joyriding freeloader, or just the spontaneous nastiness of it. I mean, sure, it’s not a great idea. It’s more than likely that there won’t be anyone who will take me up on it. But ‘how dare you’? Where does the outrage come from? It isn’t like I showed up at this person’s house, took the keys and then said, ‘oh, by the way, I’m gonna take about a month to do this and I’m going by way of New Mexico’. I was completely upfront with them; all they had to do is say no. I thought about writing back and sharing this, but I decided not to. Some people are just too unpleasant to allow into your life.
Anyway, the whole episode has added a sour note to the proceedings, which I hope I can get over soon because I really want to look forward to this trip.

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