The Excruciating Torment of Customer Abuse
The Speed Bumps of Getting Older

An Old Lady’s Fine New Car

category_bug_journal2.gif Crabby Old Lady has been on such a binge of complaints lately (or, as Claude at Blogging in Paris puts it, "in grumbleland") that to write this story, I had to pry her fingers from the computer keyboard one-by-one.

Certainly I’ve mentioned in the past that I dislike automobiles. It’s like having a perpetual infant - they always want something: gasoline, oil, window washer juice, tires, tags, inspections, insurance renewals and then there are the mysterious noises they develop that may or may not be calamitous. It is my contention that after a century of development, cars should run like refrigerators - plug them in and they go for 20 years.

Another mystery is people’s love affair with their cars and their favor of one brand or model over others. All I care about is getting from point A to point B with a minimum of fuss. Not having owned one since 1969, the only cars I can identify at a glance are those with a unique body style - the VW bug, which is one of the most elegant redesigns in automotive history, and more recently, the retro-styled Chrysler PT Cruiser. Each in its own way is an esthetic beauty.

But in general, I have no interest in cars. When I’m asked at rental agencies what kind I want, I tell them “red” so I have a slight chance of finding it in a parking lot.

With all that in mind, it is with reluctance that I have been making moves toward the purchase of an automobile, a necessity to get around my new hometown of Portland, Maine and its vicinity.

I enlisted the help of a friend in Pennsylvania, Neil Thompson, who knows everything - inside and out - about cars. He has been diligently following local advertisements for me and as of today, I am the new owner of a 2004 PT Cruiser Sportwagon at a price considerably below the going rate for that year and model. It has 25,000 miles on it, checks out clean with Carfax and is still under factory warranty. Plus, it is red so I won’t lose track of it at the supermarket.

This isn’t the actual car, just an example I found on the web, but isn’t she beautiful?


The oddest thing has happened to me now that she’s mine - I’m in love. I think this gray-haired old lady will make a remarkable impression tooling around in such a fine-looking vehicle. Equally remarkable is that I suddenly care about that. Where did this pride of ownership (false or not) come from after a lifetime of disinterest? I’m even feeling less annoyed with the required upkeep.


Oh - splendid! How exciting. The thought of you driving around in such a "fine-looking vehicle" brought a huge smile to my face this early Monday morning.

Congrats, Ronni!

Dear Lord, when I saw your headline and first few lines of this post in Bloglines, an image of a PT Cruiser came to mind immediately. Imagine my thoughts when I came onsite! This is weird. Good luck with it; I guess it was meant to be, and it's a super sharp looking car!

Gorgeous honey of a car. Now all you need is to add satellite radio to be the happiest former Crabby Lady on the road. Just a suggestion from someone who's rediscovered music through XM.

You're absolutely right - proud as can be and good reason. You'll look smashing in it and will really enjoy this car. Eventually the newness of it all will disappear and "she" (no name mentioned yet) will be a way to get from point A to point B, kept clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be comfortable...

Oh Ronni...I see a passionate love affair developing between you and "----" red car. She already has a personality and will suit you to a T.

As Dr. Seuss wrote "OH -THE PLACES YOU WILL GO"

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
by Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the "gal" who'll decide where to go."

Whoa, you are STYLIN'!

My husband bought a PT Cruiser (in 2000, I think) and we love it. I love the distinctive style and the curves. (I think those square boxy cars are the ugliest things invented.) The Cruiser's not too big, but it's big enough for those rare occasions when we have other people to ferry about or when we go on a roadtrip. It's much quieter and more comfortable than my own Mazda Miata. Enjoy!

However, for my next car, I'd really like a Smart car like the ones I saw in England. I've linked to an example via my name.

You must insist on hot flame decals for the side panels!

beautiful car and you should have fun with it. I can see why you'd be proud of what you have bought.

Hey, Ronni, looks like a nice car. It'll boldly go where you haven't been before ;)

Nicely written Ronni! I can imagine myself going through exactly this process one day after years of disdain for automobiles. And I love your analogy of the child - hope you don't mind me using it! Good luck with the new car, hope the romance continues :-)

Ronni, good luck with the car. Hopefully, this one will be better than a little kid. Hopefully this one will be a worthy traveling companion!

And red, but of course. After I read Patti Digh's story on the red rental, I have gotten a red rental.

Congratulations! There is something about a new car -- the smell, the shiny paint -- that people fall in love with because, I think, it represents a fresh start and freedom. Yes, cars are money drains, but they are also important tools in this culture. Enjoy!

Oh Ronni, I love it, so stylish, and you'll feel so good, knowing that you can hop in it any time you please and go adventuring in your new life.

Sharp lookin' vehicle!

Congrats on your purchase and what sounds like a good buy. Have saved a lot of money over the years with like new cars that somebody else paid the the new car fee on when they drove them off the show room floor and lot. They've been at least as good, better in some cases, than at least one new one we've owned.

My current vehicle purchased in that manner, even with some miles on it, was like new in and out, has been a dream with little expense. Just take good care of it.

Just for fun came across "Car Color Tells Driver's Personality" in blog based on London ins. company data.

Red car drivers are "energetic and quick thinking."

Whaddaya think -- is that just in London or U.S., too?

My Dear friend Linda has a black PT Cruiser with flame decals and personalized plates that say PT GRAM!

She's a beauty, Ronni. You haven't moved yet, have you? I've got to go into your archives and see; haven't been reading regularly lately. Where the car is sitting in the driveway looks pretty spiffy to me!

What a lovely car -- it suits you, or at least I think it does based on what I've read of your blog and your photo.

Wow! Nice car. Now for the bright purple, floppy hat and the bright yellow handbag for when you go to the supermarket. Yeow e!!

Hi Ronni

Hubba hubba, I DEFINITELY approve of the choice of car!! We rented one of these for our road-trip through the southwest last year (soft-top though) and fell totally in love! They are so comfy to drive, easy to get in and out of, and roomy. You are going to love this baby - and the colour is gorgeous!

Oh Ronni,
My favorite car and color. I am so jealous. I think this car will greatly change your sense of yourself. Certainly you can't be a crabby old lady any more driving such a spiffy car! Who knows what will happen to you now. You may even get a snazzy short haircut.

Yes, I have been following your blog and moving stories (in more ways than one :-) )

Good luck with the insurance hassles.

Greetings from a cold, chilly Friday in the Hague, where I am now gazing out with a purple haze separating me from my view of the dunes.
Apartment building draped in purple tulle in anticipation of major renovations on the outside.

That is one fine looking automobile!! When I moved out here to California I was considering the same PT Cruiser and I love RED cars! (Instead I happened onto an incredible deal on a beautiful Lincoln Towncar that I couldn't pass up - but wow that PT Cruiser looks SWEET!) Now you are beginning to realize how one can get attached to a car - especially after you build up some miles and memories in it. Each car I've owned has in a way defined how I lived during the years I drove it. You will look so COOL in that red PT Cruiser! Enjoy many memory making miles in her!
Best Wishes,

Ohh, that's one hot ride. I love the PT Cruiser, I owned one for a few years and it's really great. The style is the best part. It looks vintage but modern to the core. Even if it's quite common on the road, its certainly a head turner.

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