One thing my father has taught me is to buy old beat up cars and drive them until they completely break down. This is brilliant. I do not have a car payment and probably never will. While a newer car is nice, if it runs and doesn't smell like mold, what more could you need! A perfect demonstration of this ideology is the life and times of Leslie, the Swanson Family Van.
I remember my parents driving this van up from Oregon when I was 10 years old. It was a 'new' car, which just meant it was new to us. It has developed it's own set of quirks over the years.
- The sliding door: if you lock it, you have to KICK the lock back open. This means leaning back on the first bench seat in the back, bracing yourself with one hand on the passengers seat and the other on the top of the bench seat. Using your momma bear hulk rage, ninja kick the unlock side of the door's lock. This will most likely get the door open.
- The locks: DO NOT LOCK THE CAR. EVER. The key will not unlock the doors.
- Gas gauge: Broken. In fact, when the tank is completely full, the needle points below the E while for the opposite, completely empty, the needle points above the F. Just wait for the Low Fuel light to pop on and then you know you've got maybe one day left of 30mph driving before your screwed.
- Passenger side window: Broken. Can't roll it up or down. As a result of this, the window is eternally open about half an inch. If it's raining, DEAL.
- Driver's side window: Can be rolled down but you must use all your strength to roll it back up. I recommend using your foot and your momma bear hulk rage. Also, be prepared to cuss a lot and potentially lose your salvation in frustration.
- The interior:
The color.... ishkabibble. The ceiling interior is falling down. My father has tried four thousand different things to keep it up there. It hangs down at just the perfect place to lightly brush the top of my head, scaring me into thinking spiders are all up in my hair. AH! No matter how many times I reached my hand up to brush my hair and felt that fabric, I always felt a pang of fear when it touched my head.
Each person in the family has driven Leslie with the exclusion of Nathan. My parents [several years], Emma [2 tours], Molly [2 tours], and Katie [1 tour]. I am honored to be the one who drove the car into the depths of Hades. After 11 years, the transmission is gone, the tailpipe is falling off, and it is over-heating every four seconds.
One time, we drove Leslie to Elma to see my grandparents. It was a family reunion so everyone was over. I sat in the back bench seat, looking out the window all the way there. We arrived and I pressed the button to release myself from the seat belt... and nothing happened. I was trapped in the back seat while the rest of the family began greeting each other. It took twenty minutes, a pair of scissors and several 'monkey at the zoo' jokes before I was released and joyously welcomed back into the family.
Today, Leslie was crushed into a metal cube, never to be driven again. She has finally come to the end of the road [joke] and it was kind of sad watching the tow truck pull her away yesterday. Thank you, Leslie, for providing transportation, joke material, and above all, a place to make out for several years. May you rest in pieces! [super lame joke]