Using the Entire Fleet

Back in 2004 I was in the market for a used car, so I went out shopping. I know nothing about cars, and I was talking about how hard it was with my buddies at Yankee Candle. And they were guys who knew all about cars and they said it was hard for them, too, which made me feel better.
My friends Nancy and Brian Bailey drove me to work for three weeks, which I will never forget, and they gave me the number of a guy named Amir at Reliance Auto. When I met Amir, he was wearing slippers, so I decided to trust him. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I figured, if you never trust anybody, you wind up worse off than if you trusted somebody and they ripped you off. I don’t know if that holds up logically, but I think it holds water if you factor in the aggravation factor.

I told him I really wanted a standard shift and manual windows and door locks. I hate having to turn on the car to close a window. I do miss lowering the two back windows on a hot day on the highway, but hey, you pick your problems. Like this other terrible problem: when you open the door, the overhead light doesn’t go on. You have to turn it on. What a hardship!

Amir gave me a great 97 Honda Civic for six grand, worth at least ten, but because it had a salvage title — the computer had been stolen and replaced — my credit union wouldn’t give me a loan. This bank in Ware didn’t know me, but they knew Amir, and he helped me get a loan from them.

I paid it off three years ago and it’s still running great. And my daughter’s car that we bought there is still running great too.

I used all three vehicles in the fleet today. The Civic, Claire de Lune, I drove over to Florence to have brunch with my daughter at Miss Flo’s Diner and then down to Agawam to visit my mom, who is in a really excellent nursing home for Old Timer’s patients.

I’d take the scooter, but it would be an hour each way.

Then I rode about 18 miles on my bicycle, Bullwinkle, over mighty Mt. Warner, which, in any town except Hadley, would be designated a mole hill.

But whenever I see Lance Armstrong tackling the Pyrenees, I go conquer Mt. Warner. Then down into Amherst, across UMass and up into Cushman for the final descent down to Puffer’s Pond where I took a delicious dip.

Then I biked home four more miles and rode my scooter Camilla over to the Harp for a Guinness.